Projects and Initiatives

Groups and individuals all over U-M create and openly share their work. Whether they're learning resources, monographs, data, or software tools, Open.Michigan recognizes the diversity of efforts that relate to and support openness in education and research. Have a project that we should include? Let us know!

Open.Michigan Projects

Open Educational Resources

OER logo

The Open Educational Resources (OER) effort at U-M seeks to publish educational content such as course materials, videos, software tools, and student work, that all have open copyright licenses. That means these resources are freely available for use, remixing and redistribution. Users are encouraged to explore, build new educational resources and redistribute the results under similar Creative Commons copyright licenses.

1000+ OBGYNs Project

The 1000+ OBGYN Project is a consortium of Sub-Saharan African (SSA) departments of obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) departments and their U.S. OBGYN department partners whose goal is to improve maternal and neonatal health in SSA through training and retaining obstetricians and gynecologists to serve their communities. The materials can be used for teaching medical students, midwives and health workers, and of course OBGYN residents. Academic OBGYN departments can use these resources as references to use or adapt for their own residency curricula.


dScribe Logo

The dScribe project is a student-centric OER publishing system. It leverages the existing student-faculty relationship to gather, vet, and publish course material on an OER website. The dScribe project establishes a powerful new participatory paradigm in higher education by involving students in an active teaching and learning process. This process is being developed to be portable and adaptable, and could offer institutions worldwide with a set of tools to sustain a grassroots OER effort. University of Michigan has worked with students and organizations across the U.S.A. and throughout the world to implement their own dScribe programs at their institutions.

Open Policy Development

To many, it's no surprise that OER publishing and open education efforts must wade through a variety of legal, ethical, and cultural issues. Aware of this, Open.Michigan began its work by engaging with a variety of policymakers and attorneys throughout the U-M community, including the Medical School, the Library, the Office of the General Counsel and a partner of a local law firm. Together this group has continued to meet since 2007, establishing policies that guide and provide lift to Open.Michigan's exploration into open sharing in academia. 

African Health Open Educational Resources Network

African Health OER Network

The University of Michigan Medical School and Dental School collaborate with African health science institutions to develop and distribute health educational materials. The mission of the African Health Open Educational Resources (OER) Network (est. 2008) is to advance health education in Africa by creating and promoting free, openly licensed teaching materials created by Africans to share knowledge, address curriculum gaps, and support health education communities. Supported primarily by the Hewlett Foundation, the collaboration started with universities in Ghana and South Africa but is now drawing in institutions from across the African continent.The OER created as part of this initiative are hosted locally by the authoring institutions as well as through the OER Africa and Open.Michigan websites.


learning corps - badge logo

Open.Michigan wants to harness the excitement created by those who share or advocate for sharing scholarly material and use that to gain momentum in the open education movement at the University of Michigan. To do this we are researching badging as it applies to the various tasks of learning about and creating OER. Badges are symbols of identity, signifying a level of achievement or character, participation in an event or activity, or belonging to a group. 

Evaluation and Metrics

In 2010, Open.Michigan implemented an evaluation project to measure its impact on the University of Michigan campus since launching in 2008. This project gathered both qualitative and quantitative data on resource use, awareness and outcomes of the initiative. Among methods used, the team launched a university-wide survey and gathered analytics from its collection, resources and research presence online. The results from this evaluation have been used to inform our strategic vision for the next three years and it enables us to serve our U-M community more effectively by providing relevant, useful resources and support to foster a culture of sharing on our campus.

Crowdsourcing Translations

The Open.Michigan collection has thousands of learning materials that are available to the public and are free to access. All of these materials are shared under open licenses that allow translations, adaptations, and copies. Some of these learning materials were co-authored by people in multiple countries and reach a large global audience. In 2012, we received specific requests to make some of the materials available in other languages. However, up until December 2012, the vast majority were available only in English. In January 2013, we put out an appeal for volunteers to help translate some of our openly licensed videos into other languages. The goal of this program is to make some of the content authored by University of Michigan and our institutional partners in Africa available to larger audience around the world. The response to Open.Michigan's call has been tremendous. Translations are invited and received on a rolling basis throughout the year.


YOER Pi: An Open Design for Adaptable, Portable, Offline Wireless Sharing

At low-resourced institutions, there may be limited on-site availability of technology equipment or limited on-site support for technology. There may be no or limited electricity and Internet. Existing pre-packaged content collections for offline sharing have either has copyright or technical restrictions that limit adaptation of the content or the interaction. YOER Pi is portable, easily customizable wireless area network setup for accessing and sharing learning materials to anyone nearby within range. The goal is access that is convenient, feasible, and adaptable with available technical and human infrastructure. The open source setup acts as a wireless router, a web server, and a file server. Anyone within range, a Wi-Fi compatible device, and a web browser can browse and search the collection. If logged in, one can see analytics and modify settings. This can be done entirely without Internet but Internet is an option. One can easily modify the collection via web browser or by disconnecting the power and then modifying the USB drive. The device can be used with a rechargeable battery pack for power. All of the software and all of the content is openly licensed and can be freely copied and modified without requiring further permission. YOER Pi stewards in any organization in the world are allowed and empowered to take full local ownership to adapt the content, the interface, and the settings to suit their own context. 

Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) Support

The University of Michigan’s Office of the Provost is exploring the use and creation of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) through its Digital Education and Innovation (DEI) initiative. Open.Michigan is providing copyright and OER consultation services for Medical School and other faculty who are creating MOOCs for use on Coursera. Open.Michigan is also helping to promote U-M MOOCs and their use of OER through several communications channels, including social media, blogs, and departmental websites. Lastly, Open.Michigan advocates for the use of open practices during the creation of U-M MOOCs, such as sharing the MOOC course materials as OER, using openly licensed images and sharing newly created images on Wikimedia Commons.


OERca logo

OERca is an open source software tool to help individuals manage the process of gathering and reviewing course material to publish as OER. OERca is a web-based content clearing application that can be used by individuals involved in clearing materials of copyright and other intellectual policy concerns so they may be published under open licenses as OER. This openly licensed system is both modular and portable—and is available to other institutions that want to adapt and utilize the tools necessary to implement and manage their own OER publishing process. Since 2008, E-T has set up over 100 accounts at U-M and seven external institutions (including universities and organizations in Peru, South Africa, Ghana, and the UK), where OERca is being used to publish OER.


OERbit logo

The Open.Michigan team, together with Switchback, created and deployed OERbit as the publishing platform for the Open.Michigan website. The platform was designed with OER/OCW in mind and is built on the Drupal CMS. OERbit provides a basic set of functionality for OER/OCW publishers, including course and resource-based navigation, flexible content hierarchies, Creative Commons license integration, and RSS distribution, as well as RDFa output. The code is open source and available for download and distribution on GitHub.The OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) recognized OERbit with their 2011 Technical Innovation Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence. 

DynaMetrics - Dynamic Metrics

In an effort to share site and content usage data publicly, and identify and display interesting usage patterns for our Open Educational Resources, the Open.Michigan team initiated the Dynamic Analytics project in January 2013. The first phase of the project is complete, in the form of a custom open source Drupal module built specifically for OERbit. On a given course or resource page, it displays a few metrics: the aggregate views, downloads, and YouTube views of videos associated with the course. The project's primary audiences are content authors and support staff for Open.Michigan, but by sharing these details publicly we hope that it will be also be useful to learners, data gurus, and any others who are curious about where, how, and how often our learning materials are being used.

Open Case Builder

Open Case Builder is an open source downloadable web app that can be used to create instructional modules such as patient cases, quizzes, and readings. The author completes simple forms to insert text, media, and questions and uses arrows to arrange them in the desired order. Neither an Internet connection nor knowledge of HTML or web page design is required.

Competency-based Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Training Program at St. Paul Hospital and Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC)

This program is the first competency based OBGYN residency program in Ethiopia with residents expected to demonstrate six core competencies (patient care, medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice based learning and improvement and system based practice). This partnership will provide training and mentoring of SPHMMC OBGYN Department through a two-fold approach: 1) ensuring state-of-the-art technical assistance, training and mentoring in women’s health care and treatment; and 2) designing strategic interventions with local staff to increase the capacity, improve the organization, and strengthen overall OBGYN department services and management. Open.Michigan provides technology training and assistance to develop staff and instructor capacity to create high-quality multimedia-rich learning materials using simple, low-cost technology and free or open source software.

Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development

Sponsored by US Agency for International Development, the Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD) is developing centers of excellence in engineering and agriculture at the University of Liberia and Cuttington University. Partners include RTI International, North Carolina State University, University of Michigan, Rutgers University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and Associates in Rural Development. The U-M Engineering Department, Engineering Library, and African Studies Center are partnering with University of Liberia to develop their undergraduate engineering program. Open.Michigan is assisting engineering instructors in finding existing relevant OER to integrate into a month-long accelerated engineering course for first- and second-year students and into the larger curriculum review. Additionally, Open.Michigan is conducting analysis of the existing information and communications technology infrastructure to determine feasibility, interest, and methods for effective delivery of electronic educational materials.

Human Resources for Health: Capacity Strengthening in Ghana 

The Gates Foundation sponsored this learning grant, which was a partnership between U-M, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Ghana, and the Ghana Health Service. The "Ghana-Michigan Charter" grant had 4 objectives: 1) develop a charter for collaboration; 2) strengthen data for human resource planning (included the production of OER); 3) strengthen education and training; and 4) strengthen health-related research and research training. Open.Michigan conducted an analysis of the information and communications technology infrastructure to support general and health education at the two Ghanaian universities as well as advised on OER practices for the third objective. All of the OER created through this partnership were shared on the African Health OER Network websites. 

Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative (GEMC)

The Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative (GEMC) is a joint project between Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, University of Michigan, Ghana Ministry of Health, Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Ghana Ambulance Service. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI)sponsors this joint project to improve the provision of emergency care in Ghana through innovative training programs for medical students, nurses, and residents. Open.Michigan is providing publishing assistance in making the lecture materials widely available as OER so that they may be adapted by other training sites.

Back to top

Archives & Publishing

Copyright Review Management System

CRMS logo

CRMS is a University of Michigan Library project established to increase the reliability of copyright status determinations of books published in the United States between 1923 and 1963. This system is intended to identify books from this era that can be made publicly accessible through the HathiTrust Digital Library and placed in the public domain. It aims to support public access to knowledge and information published during this period in our history.



MPublishing logo

MPublishing, a division of MLibrary, is the primary academic publishing unit at the University of Michigan. MPublishing creates, promotes, distributes and preserves scholarly, educational and regional materials in digital and print formats. The University of Michigan Press, the Scholarly Publishing Office, Deep Blue, the Copyright Office, and the Text Creation Partnership are under the umbrella of MPublishing. MPublishing builds upon the traditional publishing strengths of the University of Michigan while creating and shaping sustainable publishing models for the future.

Orphan Works

Orphan Works Project logo

Led by the University of Michigan Copyright Office, this project intends to identify copyrighted books whose copyright holders cannot be identified or contacted. The current scope of this project includes analyzing books found in the HathiTrust Digital Library. Closely aligned with the CRMS project, the Orphan Works project aims to understand the true copyright status of works in its collection and ensure accessibility to appropriate resources.




Back to top

Research & Data

Data Documentation Initiative

The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) is an international effort to establish a standard for technical documentation describing social science data. This alliance of diverse organizations share a mission to create and make publicly available an open standard for documenting social science data. The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan is a member and leader in the DDI Alliance.

Protecome eCommons / Tranche Project

Tranche is a free and open source file sharing tool that enables the storage of large amounts of data. Designed and built with scientists and researchers in mind, Tranche can handle very large data sets, is secure, is scalable, and all data sets are citable in scientific journals.

Back to top

Software & Technology


beepage is a client/server package for text paging. It is a Unix-based, Internet-aware text paging system that implements the Telocator Alphanumeric Protocol (TAP).


An open source project originally designed to provide the University of Michigan with a secure single sign-on web authentication system. CoSign is part of the National Science Foundation Middleware Initiative (NMI) EDIT software release.


dua (Directory User Agent) is a Unix-based interactive tool used to query an LDAP Directory Server. It is an LDAP client and uses the LDAP protocol to talk to an LDAP Server. dua is used to search, create and modify entries in the directory.


Fugu is a Mac frontend application to the command-line Secure File Transfer application (SFTP). SFTP is similar to FTP, but unlike FTP, the entire session is encrypted, meaning no passwords are sent in cleartext form, and is thus much less vulnerable to third-party interception. Fugu handles SFTP, SCP, and SSH protocols. Fugu allows you to take advantage of these secure protocols without having to sacrifice ease of use.


iHook is a Mac frontend application for any command-line executable. It gives scripts a pleasant interface and allows script writers to provide graphical feedback without having to learn one of the higher APIs available for Mac OS X.

Madeline 2.0 PDE

The Madeline 2.0 Pedigree Drawing Engine is powerful software program that allows researchers to generate human pedigree drawings for genetic linkage studies. It is designed to handle large and complex pedigrees with an emphasis on readability and aesthetics. The program reads input files specified on the command-line and generates pedigree drawings without user interaction. Pedigree output in scalable vector graphics (SVG) format can be viewed in browsers with native SVG rendering support such as Firefox 1.5+ and Opera 9.0+, or in vector graphics editors such as Inkscape. Madeline 2.0 PDE is available both as a free web service and as openly licensed downloadable software.

Michigan Tailoring System

The Michigan Tailoring System (MTS) is an open source software solution developed to customize public health communications. MTS makes it possible to create and deliver richly tailored programs. Researchers, health organizations, and health practitioners can write tailored messages, test them in real time, and see the results for a given individual, without the need for constant technical support and assistance from a team of computer programmers. MTS is a Wave I finalist for the Next Generation Learning Challenges grant awards.


nefu monitors network services and reports outages. Working from a description of the network topography, nefu's algorithm prevents "false alarms" in the event of a network outage due to a dependency failure.


netatalk is a daemon which provides POSIX-compliant NIX/BSD systems with the ability to share files and printers with Apple Macintosh computers. It is a freely-available, kernel-level implementation of the AppleTalk Protocol Suite originally developed for BSD systems.


The Network File System (NFS) version 4 is a distributed filesystem protocol which owes heritage to NFS protocol version 2, RFC 1094, and version 3, RFC 1813. Unlike earlier versions, the NFS version 4 protocol supports traditional file access while integrating support for file locking and the mount protocol. In addition, support for strong security (and its negotiation), compound operations, client caching, and internationalization have been added.

OAI Toolkit

The U-M OAI Toolkit is a set of Perl based tools for harvesting OAI data and creating an OAI-PMH 2.0 compliant data provider.


radmind is a suite of Unix command-line tools and a server designed to remotely administer the file systems of multiple Unix machines. It is able to detect changes to any managed filesystem object, e.g. files, directories, links, etc. and once a change is detected, radmind can optionally reverse the change. It also has a graphical interface for Mac OS X.

Sakai CLE

Sakai CLE (Collaboration and Learning Environment) is an open-source, enterprise-ready, collaboration and courseware management platform that provides users with a suite of learning, portfolio, library and project tools. The Sakai Project began in 2004 when Stanford, Michigan, Indiana, MIT and Berkeley began building a common Courseware Management System rather than continuing their homegrown systems or licensing software from a commercial vendor. U-M's localized system developed from Sakai became known as CTools, on campus.


Soar is a general cognitive architecture for developing systems that exhibit intelligent behavior. Researchers all over the world, both from the fields of artificial intelligence and cognitive science, are using Soar for a variety of tasks. It has been in use since 1983, evolving through many different versions to where it is now Soar, Version 9.


UM.SiteMaker is a web-based program, originated at the University of Michigan, that lets non-technical people make highly customized websites and web-databases. It is specifically designed to distribute administrative control and responsibility to people in schools, colleges, departments, centers, etc., in contrast to many other systems that are administered centrally. UM.SiteMaker is a slightly localized version of GVC.SiteMaker, which is available as an open-source distribution.

Back to top