Academic Libraries

Scholarship, Security and ‘Spillage’ on Campus

The irony is that the Dawn or Doom colloquium was Daniels’s own personal project. Two of the organizers told me he is fascinated by the contradictory responses — from celebration to alarm — that tend to accompany big technological advances. He proposed to convene Purdue faculty members and leading national experts to explore the risks and promises of artificial intelligence, robotics, and Big Data surveillance, among other developments.
In his own view, Dawn or Doom is not a hard question. Daniels and I chatted about that theme as we stood in the wings off stage, shortly before my talk.
“The answer always turns out to be, it’s dawn,” he said.

From Scholarship, Security and ‘Spillage’ on Campus — Medium

7 Reasons Libraries Are Our Only Hope In Case Of A Zombie Apocalypse

Academic libraries are usually somewhat massive, which means they'll be able to hold a lot of people. The giant front doors are more than likely heavy and lock-down approved. Libraries are full of resources and entertainment, so really, what better place could you go to? If you still need further convincing, I've got a couple good reasons for you. Because this is important business, people.

From 7 Reasons Libraries Are Our Only Hope In Case Of A Zombie Apocalypse | Bustle

(2012) Harvard University says it can't afford journal publishers' prices

Exasperated by rising subscription costs charged by academic publishers, Harvard University has encouraged its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls.

A memo from Harvard Library to the university's 2,100 teaching and research staff called for action after warning it could no longer afford the price hikes imposed by many large journal publishers, which bill the library around $3.5m a year.

From Harvard University says it can't afford journal publishers' prices | Science | The Guardian

Discrete Analysis - an arXiv overlay journal

This post is to announce the start of a new mathematics journal, to be called Discrete Analysis. While in most respects it will be just like any other journal, it will be unusual in one important way: it will be purely an arXiv overlay journal. That is, rather than publishing, or even electronically hosting, papers, it will consist of a list of links to arXiv preprints. Other than that, the journal will be entirely conventional: authors will submit links to arXiv preprints, and then the editors of the journal will find referees, using their quick opinions and more detailed reports in the usual way in order to decide which papers will be accepted.

From Discrete Analysis — an arXiv overlay journal | Gowers's Weblog

Academic libraries need to be embedded in campus culture

Working with Library Journal, we reached out to academic faculty and librarians across the U.S. and received roughly one thousand survey responses. The objective of the survey was to see if faculty and librarians were on the same page when it comes to understanding the purpose and essential functions of an academic library: Do they communicate their respective needs to each other? Is there room for improvement?

From Bridging the Library/Faculty Gap « The Gale Blog

Walking Away From Academia

Briefly put, "alternative academia" is a catchall term for the process wherein individuals, unsuccessful in their quest to become university professors or disillusioned with that sort of work, seek alternative employment at places like libraries, nonprofits, university presses, and private sector think tanks.

From I have one of the best jobs in academia. Here's why I'm walking away. - Vox

The Case for Free Online Books (FOBs): Experiences

Abstract: This article is a short (well, not that short) summary of our experiences in writing a free online text book known as Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces (OSTEP for short, and sometimes pronounced "oh step"). It has been developed by myself (Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau) and my wife (Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau) over the past many years while teaching CS 537, the undergraduate Operating Systems course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The chapters of the book have been downloaded over 1/2 million times since 2012, and the web page for the book has been viewed nearly 3 million times in the past year, including a recent burst thanks to Hacker News and Reddit. In discussing our experiences, we make the case for Free Online Books (FOBs) - a now-serious alternative to classic printed textbooks.

From The Case for Free Online Books (FOBs): Experiences with "Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces" | From A To RemZi

Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy | Higher Education Network

These may sound like stories of concern to academics alone. But the problem is this: much of the time that goes into writing these books is made possible through taxpayers’ money. And who buys these books? Well, university libraries – and they, too, are paid for by taxpayers. Meanwhile, the books are not available for taxpayers to read – unless they have a university library card.

From Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

Knowledge-Based Trust: Estimating the Trustworthiness of Web Sources

The quality of web sources has been traditionally evaluated using
exogenous signals such as the hyperlink structure of the graph. We
propose a new approach that relies on endogenous signals, namely,
the correctness of factual information provided by the source. A
source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy.
The facts are automatically extracted from each source by information
extraction methods commonly used to construct knowledge
bases. We propose a way to distinguish errors made in the extraction
process from factual errors in the web source per se, by using
joint inference in a novel multi-layer probabilistic model.
We call the trustworthiness score we computed Knowledge-Based
Trust (KBT). On synthetic data, we show that our method can reliably
compute the true trustworthiness levels of the sources. We
then apply it to a database of 2.8B facts extracted from the web,
and thereby estimate the trustworthiness of 119M webpages. Manual
evaluation of a subset of the results confirms the effectiveness
of the method.

From Knowledge-Based Trust: Estimating
the Trustworthiness of Web Sources [PDF]

The Cartographer Who's Transforming Map Design

Brewer, who chairs the geography program at Penn State, is a popular figure in part because she has devoted much of her career to helping other people make better maps. By bringing research on visual perception to bear on design, Brewer says, cartographers can make maps that are more effective and more intuitive to understand. Many of the same lessons apply equally well to other types of data visualization.

From The Cartographer Who's Transforming Map Design | WIRED


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