Academic Libraries

What's an Entrepreneur Librarian? An Explanation

From Canada's University Affairs Bulletin, an article by Carey Toane about his newly appointed role as an an entrepreneur librarian.

The Title Character Has Disappeared But His Story Lives On

Perhaps you're acquainted with Edinburgh University's Library Cat? Here's the Facebook page where I first met him. Sadly I must report that Library Cat has gone missing this past summer, and has not shown up at the Uni library nor any of his other favorite spots. There appears to be a usurper, the so-called Library Cat 2.0. Here's the story of Library Cat's tenure at the library and his disappearance. He will be missed greatly. But his ghostwriter, PhD student Alex Howard has published his inner thoughts in a wonderful volume, shown here. It's been published in the UK but is available elsewhere via

UC Santa Cruz "De-Duplicates" 80,000 Volumes

From Mercury News, a math professor protests after the library rids itself of a majority of its book collection.

On UCSC’s outrageous mass destruction of books

Over the summer, workmen removed most of the remaining books from our Science and Engineering Library at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Roughly 80,000 books, worth between $2-$6 million were destroyed or shipped off campus to distant storage facilities. The act was taken with virtually no faculty input. More at: <a href=""></a>

Why I still won’t review for or publish with Elsevier–and think you shouldn’t either

Contrary to what a couple of people I talked to at the time intimated might happen, my scientific world didn’t immediately collapse. The only real consequences I’ve experienced as a result of avoiding Elsevier are that (a) on perhaps two or three occasions, I’ve had to think a little bit longer about where to send a particular manuscript, and (b) I’ve had a few dozen conversations (all perfectly civil) about Elsevier and/or academic publishing norms that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have had. Other than that, there’s been essentially no impact on my professional life. I don’t feel that my unwillingness to publish in NeuroImage, Neuron, or Journal of Research in Personality has hurt my productivity or reputation in any meaningful way. And I continue to stand by my position that it’s a mistake for scientists to do business with a publishing company that actively lobbies against the scientific community’s best interests.
From Why I still won’t review for or publish with Elsevier–and think you shouldn’t either – [citation needed]

It's Not Too Late to Save the Stacks

For in-depth assignments, nothing replaces the chance to introduce students face-to-face to a nonvirtual librarian who can help them navigate the research process. One invaluable lesson of standing next to a real person undertaking real-time information browsing: Students learn that good information takes time to locate. Even the experts have to problem-solve through some deadends and overgeneralized hits before finding a good source. And when something suitable turns up, students can share that eureka moment or the relief of genuine gratitude with another person. All of this takes place in the physical space of the library and its community of books and people.
From It's Not Too Late to Save the Stacks - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Don’t Touch That Dial: Standardizing a Consortial Library System

These issues elicit a lot of crocodile tears, hyperbole, and toxic brinkmanship from those trying to get their way. It’s pointless bickering. We can instead focus only on what’s demonstrably best to alter, making warranted changes at the network level, and leaving the rest alone. To avoid the worst case scenario of a lack of cooperation within a library system, the proactive enactment of best practices and decisive enforcement of consortia-wide settings helps minimize technical errors and redundant efforts; avoids the paradox of choice amongst those with disparate customization philosophies; eliminates unsustainable variations merely based on arbitrary precedents or skeuomorphic design; and ensures our collective installations are as usable, future-proof, and efficiently run as possible, rather than an illustration of how “freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.”
From Don’t Touch That Dial: Standardizing a Consortial Library System – Medium

Robot-written reviews fool academics

Using automatic text generation software, computer scientists at Italy’s University of Trieste created a series of fake peer reviews of genuine journal papers and asked academics of different levels of seniority to say whether they agreed with their recommendations to accept for publication or not. In a quarter of cases, academics said they agreed with the fake review’s conclusions, even though they were entirely made up of computer-generated gobbledegook – or, rather, sentences picked at random from a selection of peer reviews taken from subjects as diverse as brain science, ecology and ornithology.
From Robot-written reviews fool academics | THE News

On Refusing to Read

My small act of countercultural scholarly agency has been to refuse to continue reading or assigning the work of David Foster Wallace. The machine of his celebrity masks, I have argued, the limited benefits of spending the time required to read his work. Our time is better spent elsewhere. I make this assessment given the evidence I have so far accumulated — I have read and taught some of his stories and nonfiction, have read some critical essays on Wallace’s work, and have read D.T. Max’s biography of Wallace — and without feeling professionally obligated to spend a month reading Infinite Jest in order to be absolutely sure I’m right. If I did spend a month reading the book, I would be adding my professional investment to the load of others’ investments, which — if we track it back — are the result of a particular marketing campaign that appealed to a Jurassic vision of literary genius.
From On Refusing to Read - The Chronicle of Higher Education

How Did That Make It Through Peer Review?

Yet, I suspect these kinds of situations are relatively rare. Having been involved in enough papers, and, yes, being party to papers where I didn’t catch something in the review or editorial process, I have the ultimate answer: Reviewers, editors, and authors are human. What I mean by this is that scientific papers are complex beasts. A single manuscript may weave together disparate groups of organisms, unfamiliar pieces of anatomy, far-flung reaches of the globe, and multiple statistical techniques. A typical paper is usually seen by a single editor and two to four reviewers. It is extremely unlikely that every facet of the paper will be seen by an appropriate expert on that given facet. How likely is it that every error will be caught and addressed?
From How Did That Make It Through Peer Review? | PLOS Paleo Community


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