Thursday, June 21, 2007


Competition invites students to apply new media to ongoing discussion; offers educators and librarians creative way to encourage campus engagement

Winner will receive $1,000, a public screening and a "Sparky Award"

Washington, DC - June 21, 2007 - SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) today announced the first SPARC Discovery Awards, a contest that will recognize the best new short videos illustrating the importance of sharing information and ideas.

The contest, details for which are online at, encourages new voices to join the public discussion of information policy in the age of the Internet. Contestants are asked to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively show the benefits of bringing down barriers to the free exchange of information. While designed for adoption as a college or high school class assignment, the SPARC Discovery Awards are open to anyone over the age of 13. Submissions will be accepted beginning in mid-July and must be received by December 2, 2007. Winners will be announced in January 2008.

The Winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000 along with a "Sparky Award." Two Runners Up will each receive $500 plus a personalized award certificate. At the discretion of the judges, additional Special Merit Awards may be designated. All the award-winning videos will be publicly screened during the January 2008 American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia.

"The YouTube generation has a critical stake in how information can be used and shared on the Internet," said SPARC Executive Director Heather Joseph. "The SPARC Discovery Awards provide an outlet for their views and an opportunity for the rest of us to understand their perspectives. We hope these videos will help spark an expanded, informed, and energetic discussion."

SPARC expects to sponsor the Discovery Awards annually, as a means of supporting public discussion of critical information issues. The 2007 contest theme is "MindMashup." Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web site or software application that combines content from more than one source.

The contest takes as its inspiration a quote from George Bernard Shaw: "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

For details, please see the contest Web site at


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and its affiliated organizations, SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, are an international alliance of academic and research libraries whose advocacy, educational, and publisher partnership programs encourage a more open system of scholarly communication utilizing the Internet. SPARC is on the Web at

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