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The future of academic libraries: An interview with Steven J Bell
Steven thinks new learning initiatives like MITx and Udacity’s massive open online courses are an opportunity for academic libraries to serve non-traditional, potentially unaffiliated students, who he refers to as higher education’s new majority learners. In a recent article from his From the Bell Tower Library Journal column he suggested two possible scenarios for academic libraries within this emerging unbundled higher education landscape.
The Student Research Pad
What if colleges were to set up a combination note-taking, bookmarking, citation management web service for every incoming student? The tool could be all set up and ready to go, accessible on the web to the student by means of the same authentication/login system they use to get to campus email, course management systems, remote access to library databases, etc. The “research pad” that I have been brainstorming off and on for the past few years would connect to lots of resources and tools automatically and would allow the easy manual import of new items (articles found in a database, for example) via a number of means (bookmarklets, import via a custom email address, RSS feeds from your Zotero account, etc.)
Are You a Press or Are You a Library? An Interview with NYU’s Monica McCormick
This interview covers one example of the ways in which a university library and press are learning to negotiate this new publishing ecosystem together. I spoke with Monica McCormick (@moncia), who holds the interesting and unusual position of simultaneously working with both the NYU Press and the NYU Library in her position in the Office of Digital Scholarly Publishing. In our conversation, we covered issues ranging from the relationship between the Press and the Library at NYU, her position on open access, and the important and undervalued work that editors continue to play in academia.
A former librarian is in custody for allegedly having child pornography in his office, authorities said.
The charges come after officials at Reinhardt University, where he worked as a librarian, reported that they found child pornographic images in his office.
It’s a role which conjures the image of a demure character charged with ensuring a hushed silence in one of England’s great centres of learning.
So it is little surprise that Oxford University student Madeline Grant’s bid to win an election to become a librarian by claiming ‘I have a great rack’, has provoked such disquiet.
The English undergraduate has been accused of a ‘sexist’ attempt to sway votes when she wrote on her manifesto for Union Librarian: ‘I don’t hack, I just have a great rack.’
Jeffrey Beall, metadata librarian at the University of Colorado at Denver, keeps a running list on his blog Scholarly Open Access of what he calls "predatory" publishers and journals. He said he has identified about 50 so far, and comes across a new one nearly every week.
Social constructionism, constructivism, post-structuralism, standpoint epistemology, deconstructionism….ever heard of these? Chance are, if you’ve taken a look at some of the recent literature in the philosophical aspects of librarianship, you’ve come across these and/or similar theories. Variously lumped together under the aegis of postmodernism, these theories are distinct, yet they are united through a common belief that we have no epistemic access to a mind-independent reality. Some of these theories go even further and claim not only that we can’t know anything about the world outside of ourselves, but that there isn’t even an objective, mind-independent reality at all—reality is subjective. In effect, these theories advocate various forms of relativism. I’ve criticized this type of relativistic thinking in previous posts, but perhaps it’s time to clarify. Specifically, I want to explain why relativism, in all of its forms, is harmful to librarianship. This type of thinking is self-refuting, it impedes learning, it disenfranchises those who most need our help, it obstructs social progress, and it erodes the value of libraries in society.
Nobody cares about the library: How digital technology makes the library invisible (and visible) to scholars
In an information landscape increasingly dominated by networked resources, both sides of the librarian-scholar/student relationship must come to terms with a new reality that is in some ways more distant and in others closer than ever before. Librarians must learn to accept invisibility where digital realities demand it. Scholars must come to understand the centrality of library expertise and accept librarians as equal partners as more and more scholarship becomes born digital and the digital humanities goes from being a fringe sub-discipline to a mainstream pursuit. Librarians in turn must expand those services like special collections, support for data-driven research, and access to new modes of publication that play to their strengths and will best serve scholars. We all have to find new ways, better ways to work together.
Occupy Lamont’s rhetoric distracts from the issue of layoffs
"Again, we welcome Occupy Lamont to go about their business. But a discussion of the kind that they claim to be interested in having ought not distract from the issue at hand. As a community, we do not need to re-imagine the fundamental properties of the library. There is no impetus to do so, and Harvard’s librarians, led by University Librarian Robert C. Darnton ’60, have been working not only on modernizing our system but also making Harvard’s material accessible for free online. Occupy Lamont distracts and potentially impinges on this real progress, and stands in the way of a frank discussion about layoffs."
Libraries Receiving a Shrinking Piece of the University Pie
The simplest explanation to describe this trend is that the library has lost its coveted position as the intellectual hub of the university; that administrators don’t think of the library anymore — after all, information that arrives on one’s desktop must be free; and that students value the library more as a quiet place to nap between classes than as a scholarly resource. While these factors may be in play, I don’t believe they explain the trend.