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November 12, 2009

Jennifer McLennan
(202) 296-2296 x 121
jennifer [at] arl [dot] org


Washington, DC – Three new sponsors have thrown their support behind the 2009 Sparky Awards, reinforcing the importance of new media and student voices in the global discussion on access to research, and adding momentum to the contest in its final weeks: the New Media Consortium, the Center for Social Media, and the Open Video Alliance. Students have until December 6, 2009 to submit their entries.

The third annual Sparky Awards invite students to submit videos of two minutes or less that creatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information. The contest is well suited for adoption as a class assignment as well as an opportunity to promote library services – including media services or information commons, where students can edit video, browse media, work collaboratively, and learn about copyright and balancing features such as fair use. New 2009 sponsors attest to the wide relevance of the contest on campus and include:

  • The New Media Consortium (NMC), an international not-for-profit group representing some of the world's most forward-thinking companies and most highly regarded colleges, universities, museums, and research centers. NMC is dedicated to the exploration and use of emerging technologies for learning, research, and creative inquiry (
  • The Center for Social Media, an initiative of American University’s School of Communication, examines strategies to use media as creative tools for public knowledge and action ( 
  • The Open Video Alliance, a coalition of organizations – including Mozilla, the Participatory Culture Foundation, Kaltura, and the Information Society Project at Yale Law School – committed to the idea that the basic tools for creating, sharing, and using video should be available to everyone (

These innovative organizations join the 2009 sponsors in driving the success of this contest this year: the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Campus MovieFest, Penn Libraries, Students for Free Culture, the Student PIRGs, and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).

“The Sparky Awards contest is an excellent way to facilitate the integration of new media into the classroom, and a great channel for the student voice to be heard,” said Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer for the New Media Consortium. “Students, via a multitude of creative forms and remix-friendly communities, are pressing hard for higher education to match their pace with the sharing and use of information and technology of all kinds. It’s our pleasure to sponsor the 2009 Sparky Awards and help expand this important conversation.”

Entries in the international Sparky Awards competition must be received by 11:59PM Pacific time on December 6, 2009. To be eligible, videos must be freely available on the Internet and available for use under a Creative Commons License.

The international award-winning videos will be announced in conjunction with the January 2010 American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Boston and the Campus MovieFest 2010 Southern Regional Grand Finale. The Grand Prize winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000 along with a Sparky Award statuette, a copy of Apple Final Cut Studio, and an iPod Nano (courtesy of Campus MovieFest). The Runner Up and People’s Choice Award winners will each receive $500 plus a personalized award certificate. At the discretion of the judges, additional Special Merit Awards may be designated.

For details on the contest, visit the Sparky Awards Web site at

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.