Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

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The digital library collects, curates, and coordinates information resources to bring clarity to the evolving learn-and-work ecosystem.

Over the past decade, hundreds of initiatives have been launched to improve the rapidly changing learn-and-work ecosystem. The nation’s dated, degree-centric higher education system has given  way to a multiplex of credentials and credential providers. Credentials include diplomas, degrees, certificates (within and outside the higher education system), industry certifications, apprenticeships, microcredentials, and licenses. Providers include K-12 schools, colleges and universities, professional associations, certification bodies, and industry groups. This transformation in how and what students learn, how employers understand what prospective employees know and can do, and how policymakers and accreditors can and should set policy and regulation around credentials has made the U.S. learn-and-work system more complex and confusing, especially for populations facing steep challenges in gaining access to quality education that prepares them for good jobs. 

Most large-scale initiatives create some form of web-based repository of their work. Some project websites  operate during grant funding and are archived afterward—or slowly abandoned. Even when websites  are maintained, they tend to operate in isolation. Information is scattered across websites and difficult, if not impossible, to find. There also are gaps in information on many topics.

Lacking an organized, curated library of information, today’s system operates mostly through an informal network of peer insiders. Finding information this way slows the work of experts at the very point that rapid information flow and problem-solving are needed. Newcomers to the work often  have no idea who to call or where to find information. Librarians, essential agents in the knowledge world, are hard-pressed to help because curated, synthesized sources don’t exist.

The Library was created to develop a repository of information resources to support those working to build a fairer, more effective learn-and-work ecosystem. Those working in this arena need information—historical, recent, complete, and curated—to develop and fine-tune solutions, to make the case to the many stakeholders needed to transform our system, and to expand and accelerate reform efforts. Even with the increasing sophistication of AI bots to provide better information, they are not fully reliable and they will in the future pull information from data sources like the Library.

See: The Why, The What, The Who


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The best way to search might depend on what you are looking for and how you like to receive information. There are several ways to conduct a search.

  • You can question our AI Library Assistant Chatbot using conversational language. The Chatbot will provide the best answer it can find to your question within the Library, and offer you the opportunity to refine or repeat your search. You can explore concepts in conversation with the AI, and ask it to synthesize information for you from across the Library collection. The AI is a work-in-progress and users are encouraged to check sources and verify links for any information provided in a chat.
  • You can conduct an Advanced Search by Keyword, and use additional filters to narrow results by category (e.g. more than 20 Stakeholder Groups, more than 90 Topics).
  • You can scroll through an Alphabetized Glossary of Terms and Alphabetized Index (side tab) of all Library content.
  • You can view complete, alphabetized lists of TopicsOrganizations, or Initiatives and select an entry for more information.
  • You can contact the Library’s librarian with a specific research question or to request assistance locating information that your own searches did not yield.

See Tips for Searching the Library.

If you know the specific name of an organization or initiative, you can Search the Collection by keyword.

The Library collection is organized by various categories: Key Components, Topics, Initiatives, Organizations, and Glossary.

The Index contains a complete alphabetized list of Library content. Select the Index from the popout tab on the Library homepage.

The Glossary provides definitions and identifies alternate terms commonly used when describing the ecosystem.

Adding Entries and Requesting Changes

Using and Trusting Resources

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The Library operates under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which means that anyone is free to share and adapt our material for noncommercial purposes when proper attribution is provided.

The citation format is dictated by your discipline or program’s preferred style guide. The most common styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian (See the Purdue Online Writing Lab for digital guides). Citations use a hanging indent. A hanging indent is used to indent all lines of a paragraph except the first. Hanging indents are used in reference lists in APA, MLA, and Chicago style to visually separate reference entries and allow the reader to easily distinguish between sources.

The Library is considered an electronic resource¸ and unless a specific author is listed, the Library as an organization should be treated as the author in the citation. Because the Library’s content is frequently updated, it is recommended to include in the citation the date you accessed an entry.

Example citations for the Library’s Topic entry on Alternative Credentials.


Learn & Work Ecosystem Library. (2024, March 31). Topic: Alternative Credentials. Retrieved May 7, 2024, from


“Topic – Alternative Credentials.” Learn & Work Ecosystem Library, 31 March 2024, Accessed 7 May 2024.

Chicago (Chicago only requires the accessed date in a citation if no publication date is listed for the source. While many of the Library’s entries include a ‘last updated’ timestamp, some do not and for these you should include your accessed date.)

Chicago Footnote or Endnote

“Topic – Alternative Credentials,” Learn & Work Ecosystem Library. 31 March, 2024,

Chicago Bibliography

“Topic – Alternative Credentials.” Learn & Work Ecosystem Library. March 31, 2024.

Library content is collected from the credible websites linked to within entries, and from the personal knowledge and experience of the Library staff. Key Component and Topic entries are often more detailed and these include a list of references at the end. The content of Organization and Initiative entries is derived from the source provided in the main External Source link, and from additional websites listed as resources at the end, and in some cases from media (published articles and press releases).

The Library is professionally staffed and makes every effort to accurately reflect the work and research described in our entries. We encourage users to visit the sources included in the links we provide, as these may include additional context and information more recent than was available when the Library entry was authored. We invite those involved in the ecosystem to make use of the Submission and Edit forms to ensure that descriptions of their work is accurate and current. To learn more about how content is added to the library, see the Methodology page.

Library content is regularly updated, and new content is added on a weekly if not daily basis. “Last Updated” timestamps appear near the top of most entries. The Newsroom report on Growth in Content tracks this activity since the website’s launch in December 2022.


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The George Washington University Institute of Public Policy (GWIPP) at George Washington University initiated the Learn & Work Ecosystem Library in January 2021. 

Credential As You Go is a national initiative established in fall 2021 with leadership from SUNY Empire State University, George Washington University’s GWIPP, and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce.

  • Credential As You Go is a movement to develop a nationally adopted incremental credentialing system that improves education and employment outcomes for all. 
  • The initiative focuses on building an incremental credentialing system, recognizing that many types of quality credentials (degrees, certificates, industry certifications, licenses, badges, microcredentials) document an individual’s learning, and credentials are awarded by many types of providers including community and technical colleges, four-year colleges and universities, third-party organizations, employers, military, and state licensing boards. 
  • Credential As You Go includes many components: a national campaign to build understanding and support, research to build the evidence for the new system, training, and technical assistance, equity and inclusion, policy changes, trust in the quality of incremental credentials, and building interconnections with related initiatives.  
  • The Library joined Credential As You Go as a partner to support those developing and implementing incremental credentialing with curated, updated information.

The open access, community-owned (wiki model) Library has a mission to support the many efforts working to improve the learn-and-work ecosystem, including Credential As You Go. The Library has its own staff, a national advisory board, and unique website:

The Library has partnership agreements with:

  • Credential As You Go
  • The EvoLLLution® – A Modern Campus Illumination
  • 1EdTech

See: Library Collaborations page.

Please reach out to us at or using the Contact Us form to begin a discussion and explore possible collaboration.

Review ongoing opportunities announced in the Library Research Center.

Presentations and Webinars

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The Library staff are active members of the ecosystem community, and are happy to present at conferences or remotely to online audiences interested in learning more about this information resource and how it can best be used.

If a recording or transcript has been made available for any past event, select the event from the Professional Development Hub to view the full details, including the link. Video links will not be visible in the event list brief view, so you will need to select the event title to view additional details.

Of course! Please use the Contact Us form or email with any requests or ideas.

For Faculty and Researchers

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Yes, the Library is available to be used as an instructional tool, especially to inform learners about the learn-and-work ecosystem. We request, if possible, that you let us know when you are using it in this way so that we can collect information about this to improve our offerings of information. Our Research Center’s Professional Development Hub lists upcoming and past events.

The Research Showcase is built upon the following core specifications:

Present relevant research findings as a town square / legacy academy that showcases distinctive work, latest reports.

Use peer review following peer review criteria for items included at the Showcase.

Maintain a commitment to synthesized research in clear, understandable language, with links to journal or other articles and reports for further details.

The Library welcomes inquiries from researchers (individuals or teams) to include their research at the Library. The process is to contact the librarian for further information.

Technical Information

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No, the Library is committed to serving as a free and open resource for all.

A menu bar at the very top of every Library page contains a dropdown list of available languages for automatic translation. English is selected as the default.

The Library website utilizes responsive design to render well on a variety of screen sizes while preserving usability. This is an automatic process and requires no action on the user’s part.

The Library website does not collect any personally identifiable information about those who visit. We utilize Google Analytics to better understand how the Library is discovered and used. For more information, read about how Google Analytics safeguards data.

Have something to submit?

For the ecosystem to function effectively, all parts of the system must be connected and coordinated.

Organizations (275)

Initiatives (309)

Topics (93)

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