Tufts University has a longstanding commitment to share its academic resources with the world. Starting with the Perseus Digital Library (classics) that began in the 1980’s, and Tufts University Sciences Knowledgebase (TUSK) (health sciences) in the 1990’s, Tufts has pioneered the development of comprehensive digital resources that have benefited scholars, researchers, and students from many different institutions. Since the early 2000’s, the number of other open projects has grown rapidly—now involving over a dozen major initiatives from every Tufts school with hundreds of faculty, student and staff contributors. To serve our diverse global community of users, we have indexed these resources on the Open.Tufts portal for easy reference.
Tufts’ commitment to open academic resources has deep University-wide support, including formal endorsements from:
- Senior leadership
- University Committee on Teaching and Faculty Development (standing committee since 1994 with representatives from all Tufts schools, including many academic deans)
- University Library Council (directors from all our libraries, including Digital Collections and Archives and its open access Digital Library)
- Scholarly Communications Team (provides ongoing “open access” education to the Tufts community, including NSF data management)
- Tufts OpenCourseWare (OCW) Steering Committee (charter and sustaining member of OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC))
- Graduate Student Council resolution supporting open access to academic research
Our collective efforts reflect Tufts’ commitment to open academic resources and open access at all levels of the University. I am honored to serve as the sponsor of Open.Tufts and many of these efforts, including an internal Open Access Fund to increase awareness and participation in the Tufts community.
Mary Y. Lee, MD, MS
For more information about Tufts OCW, read “Expanding the reach of health sciences education and empowering others: the OpenCourseWare initiative at Tufts University,” published in Medical Teacher, January 2008.
Some Open Resources available include:
Tufts University Sciences Knowledgebase, or TUSK, is a comprehensive, open-source-based content and knowledge management software system, particularly suited for creating, managing and sharing health sciences curricula. TUSK allows each participating institution (several in the United States, India, and East Africa) to support their own content repository, curriculum management, and curriculum delivery across all departments and schools using one integrated system that is customized to their “brand”, while enabling sharing content and processes with others. TUSK provides a single, rich interface for learners, faculty, and curriculum administration. Using the standardized vocabulary of the National Library of Medicine’s UMLS keywords and key concepts within its metadata, TUSK enables easy searching and reuse of materials across all disciplines. TUSK provided the infrastructure and much content for Tufts OCW.
The Tufts OpenCourseWare (OCW) project is a web-based publication of educational material from Tufts University courses from all three campuses, with a strong representation of medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and nutrition courses. Under the Creative Commons license, the website provides open sharing of free, searchable course content to educators, students, and self-learners throughout the world.
See article: Lee MY, Albright S, O’Leary L, Terkla DG, Wilson N (2008) ‘Expanding the reach of health sciences education and empowering others: the OpenCourseWare initiative at Tufts University,” Medical Teacher, 30:2, 159-163.
Since 2001, the CWFG has been serving parents, students and professionals seeking trustworthy information about children from infancy to adulthood. With nearly 1 million visitors annually (>20% international), the CFWG ranks hundreds of open sites based on a rigorous evaluation system developed by leading child development experts, and is maintained by a team of doctoral, masters, and undergraduate students under faculty supervision. CFWG’s “seal of approval” appears on many prestigious child and family-oriented websites, including universities.
SPIRAL, initially a joint initiative in 2001 of South Cove Community Health Center (Boston) and Tufts University Hirsh Health Sciences Library, now is used in over 126 countries and territories. SPIRAL aims to promote health literacy by providing open access to high-quality health information for underserved non-English speakers and their health providers, searchable by the language of the community served, including Chinese, Cambodian/Khmer, Vietnamese, Hmong, Thai, Korean, Laotian, and Japanese.
The Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is a free, open source application developed through a project based at Tufts University. At its core, VUE is a concept- and content-mapping application, developed to support teaching, learning and research and for anyone who needs to access and organize digital information.The benefits of concept mapping as a learning tool have been documented by over 40 years of cognitive science research. VUE provides a concept-mapping interface, which can be used as such, or as a way to aggregate and present digital content in non-linear ways. As the availability of digital information continues to increase, VUE sets itself apart as a flexible tool to help integrate, organize and contextualize electronic content from multiple worldwide sources.
With a single tool in hand, scholars can use VUE to work through an entire academic task cycle: brainstorm, search, collect, organize, analyze and present information. Some of VUE’s unique functionality includes federated searches, data import and visualization, map-to-slide presentation, linear and non-linear presentations, connectivity analysis, merge maps, and an upcoming SEASR and Zotero integration.
Since the 1980’s, Perseus has explored both the possibilities and challenges of moving libraries online into a dynamic, networked world. Perseus offers the most comprehensive collection of content and tools to teach and learn Greco-Roman classics (particularly Greek, Latin, and Art and Archaeology) as well as other humanities, including early modern English and customized reading support for the Arabic language. Perseus continues to evolve, performing active research in how we access and use information to learn, thus working towards its primary goal of offering the widest range of source materials – linguistic, physical artifacts, historical spaces – as accessible as possible to every human being, regardless of linguistic or cultural background.
The Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) is a leader in supporting efforts to integrate engineering into K-12 education. The CEEO is comprised of staff, graduate, and undergraduate students to teach science, technology, engineering, and math using the engineering design process as a learning vehicle. Our motivation stems from our fundamental belief that the skills we help students develop are closely connected to the transformation of our physical world into a world with improved excitement for learning and higher quality of life. Sample projects include:
The Tufts Digital Library is a place to explore and discover Tufts’ research and teaching online. Collections include faculty and student scholarship, photograph and image collections, oral histories, student and university publications, and more. Some highlights include the Edward R. Murrow Collection, our collection of early American election returns, and the Dagomba Dance Drumming collection.
Tufts’ Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Geology Department, Tisch Library, and Educational & Scholarly Technology Services developed a geotechnical database for use in engineering education and research. By integrating the analysis capabilities of a Geographic Information System (GIS) with Environmental Visualization Software (EVS), students and researchers can explore civil engineering constraints for construction in downtown Boston, caused by the historic filling of land in Boston’s peninsula. A customized Desktop GIS and Internet mapping application enables 2-D and 3-D visualization of Boston’s subsurface soil database, acquired through the Central Artery’s Big Dig project.
ConStats is a learning tool designed at Tufts University that allows introductory statistics students to actively experiment with statistical ideas and reasoning. Unlike data analysis programs, ConStats modules give users hands-on experience with statistical concepts that will deepen understanding of the science of statistics.
CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) conducts research on the civic and political engagement of Americans between the ages of 15 and 25. CIRCLE’s website assembles the best and most serious research about youth civic engagement to one place. It also provides tools for civic engagement education, youth programming and civic assessment. CIRCLE is based at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship & Public Service at Tufts University.
AquaPedia (beta version) is a virtual world of reliable, relevant, and readily available water information and wisdom collected and synthesized by users and producers of explicit (water information) and tacit (water wisdom) knowledge. The transformative and collaborative power of AquaPedia will make water a flexible and expandable resource. Developed at Tufts, AquaPedia presents an example of the emerging trend to integrate collaborative technologies and transdisciplinary scholarship to create actionable knowledge.
OpenGeoportal is a collaboratively developed, open source, federated web application to discover, preview, and retrieve geospatial data rapidly, as well as a new coalition of geospatial professionals, developers, and librarians working together to share resources and best practices in geospatial portal application development, metadata, data sharing, data licensing, and data sources. Partners include: Harvard, MIT, MassGIS, Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cornell, Yale, USAID – GIST, University of Georgia/State of Georgia, University of Connecticut, University of Wisconsin, and University of Virginia.
GeoData@Tufts is the Tufts live instance of the OpenGeoportal application. Currently Tufts, Harvard, MIT, MassGIS, and UC Berkeley data is available through the interface, i.e. about 10,000 geospatial data layers.