Geneseo Releases Two Open-Access Publications

GENESEO, N.Y. – Two SUNY Geneseo faculty members released open-access publications this week – a textbook on learning the Chinese language and an essay on Bob Dylan, both accessible online and free to anyone.

The release coincides with both International Open Access Week and the release of two publications from two other SUNY colleges developed through the Open SUNY Textbook Program, a collaboration among SUNY libraries and faculty members to develop free online textbooks.

The Geneseo authors are Jasmine Tang, distinguished lecturer in the Department of Languages and Literatures, who published the textbook "Let's Speak Chinese!," and Eugene Stelzig, distinguished teaching professor of English at the college, who wrote the essay "Bob Dylan's Career as a Blakean Visionary and Romantic." They are part of a growing number of faculty members authoring open educational materials to help reduce the cost of education.

Stelzig's essay has taken a circuitous pathway to worldwide availability. He completed the work in 1976 after being invited to submit it for a volume of scholarly essays on Dylan, but the publisher backed out of the venture, deciding it would have limited appeal. Since then, faculty and students have frequently requested copies of Stelzig's article for inclusion in dissertations or courses involving Dylan. Stelzig's original manuscript was typewritten, before the advent of word processing.

"I'm delighted to participate as an open-access author and to have the essay available to anyone who wants to see it, either in print or online," said Stelzig. "The piece has led a sort of underground life for decades in the wake of Robert Shelton listing it in the bibliography of his biography of Dylan, so I'm delighted that Milne Library is making it available and easily accessible to anyone."

Tang will begin using her online textbook, which focuses on conversation, in conjunctions with a previous textbook she authored for beginning students of the Chinese language, "Taking Off With Chinese." The online version contains an audio component that allows the student to listen to word pronunciations. Tang has 51 students enrolled in her Chinese language courses this semester.

"The reason for open-access is such that anyone who has interest can learn the language, building confidence in making communication in Chinese at their own pace with the guidance from this book," said Tang. "The goal is to reach a global audience and a harmonious environment in learning Chinese as a new language."

Cyril Oberlander, library director at SUNY Geneseo, is principal investigator and project editor for the Open SUNY Textbook Program, developed through a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant and library funding. The program also draws upon the expertise of SUNY librarians and SUNY Press.

"It's very gratifying to see all of these publications reach the virtual bookshelves, and the authors have my esteem," said Oberlander. "We continue to work with other SUNY faculty members in the production of additional open-access textbooks in support of the Open SUNY initiative."

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