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Short Videos Showcase Student Perspectives on Information Sharing

January 22, 2008

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

Washington, DC – January 22, 2008 – SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) today announced the winners of the first SPARKY Awards. The 2007 contest called on entrants to imaginatively illustrate in a short video the value of sharing ideas and information of all kinds.

The three winning entries offer a glimpse of student views on the importance of access to information, and feature an animated look at the most basic benefits of sharing, a film noir-style crime investigation using the Internet, and a tongue-in-cheek documentary on Open Access. The winners are:

First Place
Written and directed by Habib Yazdi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

First Runner Up
“Pri Vetai: Private Eye”
Directed by Tommy McCauley and Max Silver, Carleton College

Second Runner Up
“An Open Access Manifesto”
Written and directed by Romel Espinel and Josh Hadro, Pratt Institute

“I decided to participate in the contest because I strongly believe in the value of sharing – especially with regard to information,” said Habib Yazdi, who is a senior communication studies major. “Through sharing what we have learned we can improve the lives of those who are less privileged. Being on a college campus, I have really come to appreciate how many students are willing to share knowledge with others.”

"Tommy and I had a lot of fun working on our film,” said Max Silver, a freshman. Being able to access information for free has vastly changed society, especially in the lives of students. It is important to realize this, and to keep moving in the same direction – to give as many people as much information as possible."

Josh Hadro, a student of library science, added, “While the focus of our class was academic librarianship, Open Access was a frequently recurring theme in our discussions, and one to which nearly all of the students in our small seminar-style class were sympathetic. Romel and I especially agreed with this idea of the inevitable progress of the Open Access movement, and used the opening of the video to highlight this. We enjoyed the thought of the Ken Burns-esque look back at a time before Open Access was a given.” Their film was made as a final project for a course in scholarly communication.

“Taking a look at student views on access to information through the contest entries was fun and enlightening,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “Our winners’ entertaining and thought-provoking works will surely stimulate others to consider the power and importance of information sharing. Thanks to everyone who participated and to our esteemed judges.”

Submissions were judged by a panel that included:

• Peter Wintonick, award-winning documentary filmmaker and principal of Necessary Illusions Productions Inc.
• Karen Rustad, president of Free Culture 5C and a senior at Scripps College majoring in media studies
• Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC
• Rick Johnson, communications consultant and founding director of SPARC
• José-Marie Griffiths, Professor & Dean at the School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Aaron Delwiche, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas

Each of the winning entries is available under a Creative Commons use license, which enables creators to easily mark their work with the freedoms they want it to carry and tells users what rights they have beyond those under copyright.

For more details on the contest, including information on the 2008 competition, please see the SPARKY Awards Web site at


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC is a founding member of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a coalition of patient, academic, research, and publishing organizations that supports open public access to the results of federally funded research – including research funded by the National Institutes of Health. SPARC is on the Web at