SILS students win 2011 Sparky Awards

August 16, 2011

sparky awardFour new student films on the importance of Open Access to research and data have been voted the best by a panel of new media experts, students and librarians in “Open Up!” the fourth annual Sparky Awards. Two of the winning producers are students of the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Nico Carver received the "Best Animation Award" for his film, Free Your Data. Paula Seligson received the "Best Speech Award" for We’re In This Together.

Calling on students to articulate their support in a two-minute video, the contest has been embraced by campuses all over the world and has inspired imaginative expressions of student support for the potential of Open Access to foster creativity, innovation and problem solving. The Sparky Awards are organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).
This year’s winning videos highlight student views on how free, immediate, online access – plus the rights to reuse – the results of scholarly research is essential to the quality of student education, accelerates the discovery process and has the potential to benefit society worldwide.
This year, the judges selected winners in three categories:

BEST LIVE ACTION: Breaking News: Open Access Wave Sweeps World produced by Joshua Goodman (University of Pretoria).

BEST ANIMATION: Free your Data produced by Nico Carver (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill).

BEST SPEECH: We’re In This Together produced by Paula Seligson (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill).

Producers of each of the three winning entries will receive an iPad or iPhone along with a Sparky Award statuette.
“Special Merit” recognition is also being awarded to: Some Things Shouldn't Be in Halves  produced by Zack McGeehan, Olivia Kimmel, Dimitri Kouri and Jason Weitzman (Boston University). In this clip, students compare limited online access to wearing half a sock or having half a meal to eat.
Nico Carver, a Library Science Master’s student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and winner for Best Animation, used his video to express the importance of making endangered datasets available to researchers and the public – an issue he came to claim in working on the Data-at-Risk Inventory ( “The Sparky Awards provided a perfect platform for me to communicate this vital message,” he said.
“This year’s entries drive home the fact that student concern for Open Access runs deep,” added Jennifer McLennan, director of Programs and Operations for SPARC. “They support Open Access because they see it fundamentally tied to their success as students, to advancing research in general, and to translating the fruits of research into worldwide societal benefits. Students continue to herald change in scholarly communication in their own unique and compelling voice.”
The organizers now invite students, faculty, librarians and others on campus to weigh in for their favorite in the Sparky People’s Choice Award. The People’s Choice Award highlights all of the 2011 entries. The winner will also receive an iPad, iPhone or iPod plus a personalized award certificate. To vote, visit The deadline to vote for the People’s Choice Award is Sept. 23, 2011.
The Sparky Awards are organized by SPARC and co-sponsored by: the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Campus MovieFest, the Center for Social Media, the New Media Consortium (NMC), the Open Video Alliance, Penn Libraries, Students for Free Culture, the Student PIRGs and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).
For full details, visit the Sparky Awards Web site.  
THE SPARKY AWARDS are organized and sponsored by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), an alliance of academic libraries and research institutions working to build on the opportunities created by the networked digital environment to advance the conduct of scholarship. Membership in SPARC is open to libraries of all sizes. For more information, visit