The Penn Libraries offers a vast array of services that help support the important research and instructional needs of the Penn community.
Canvas, an open-source online learning management system (LMS) produced by Salt Lake City, Utah-based Instructure, is a widely used instructional tool for Penn students, staff, and faculty. The LMS was piloted in Summer 2013 and fully deployed in Summer 2014. Online course sites allow users easy access to their course materials anywhere they have an Internet connection. Canvas can be used for submitting assignments, taking question and answer-based assessments, managing class communications, and sharing documents and multimedia. Many third-party tools also integrate well into the learning platform. Since using Canvas is optional for instructors, course sites are created by request each semester. Only users who have a PennKey and are taking, teaching, or assisting with a course have access to Canvas and users must be enrolled in a course site in order to view it. Canvas is governed by the Courseware Steering Committee and the Courseware Advisory, which include representatives from all schools.
ScholarlyCommons is a repository for the scholarly output of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. It promotes dissemination of their work, and preserves it in a freely-accessible, long-term archive. An effort to alleviate recent pressures to restrict access to new knowledge, ScholarlyCommons allows researchers and other interested readers anywhere in the world to learn about and keep up to date with Penn scholarship. Administered by the Penn Libraries, ScholarlyCommons contains materials chosen by participating units — departments, schools, centers, institutes, and so forth — at Penn. Users have access to materials in ScholarlyCommons free of charge.
Vitale Digital Media Lab
The Vitale Digital Media Lab offers training, equipment and knowledgeable staff to assist patrons in working with digital media including video, audio, imaging, graphic design, and web publishing. Lab resources are available to all current Penn students, faculty, and staff.
The Education Commons and the Biomedical Library offers 3D printing for all Penn students, faculty, and staff. Policies and costs vary at each location.