Academic Libraries

The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing

The idea that writing should be clear, concise, and low-jargon isn’t a new one—and it isn’t limited to government agencies, of course. The problem of needlessly complex writing—sometimes referred to as an “opaque writing style”—has been explored in fields ranging from law to science. Yet in academia, unwieldy writing has become something of a protected tradition.

From The Ig Nobel Prize and Other Efforts to Eradicate Complex Academic Writing - The Atlantic

From Steamer Trunk to Rare Books Collection

Perusing the Frauenzimmerspiegel raises many questions about gender roles assigned to men and women in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It also speaks to the public and private place of women in a patriarchal society at that time and how more enlightened thinking slowly began to redefine these roles into civic models.

From From Steamer Trunk to Rare Books Collection | Unique at Penn

The Enduring Reach of a Rural Poet: John Clare's Heirs

Almost everything that could have seemed, to a nineteenth-century reader, like a reason to count Clare as minor, or not to read him, makes him a resource for poets today. “Bard of the fallow field / And the green meadow,” as he called himself, Clare remained closely attentive to what we now call his environment, what he called “nature,” in a way that is neither touristic nor ignorant of agricultural effort. He saw tragic ironies all over the place, but he never sought verbal ironies himself: he is about as sincere (if not naive) as poets get. Clare seems to have benefited from few of the changes wreaked on the planet since the invention of the steam engine and cannot be blamed for whatever brought them about: he may be the last significant white Anglophone poet for whom that was true.

From John Clare's Heirs | Boston Review

How to Save an Ancient Language Before It Disappears Forever

For decades, Taiwan’s minority Hakka people were banned from teaching their native language. Now an unlikely coalition of aging academics and millennial radio DJs are doing all they can to keep it alive.

From How to Save an Ancient Language Before It Disappears Forever | Narratively | Human stories, boldly told.

MOOCs Are Still Rising, at Least in Numbers

Compiled earlier this month by Dhawal Shah, founder of the MOOC aggregator Class Central, the report summarizes data on MOOCs from the past four years. And the data show that even as the MOOC hype has started to die down, interest hasn’t tapered off.

The cumulative number of MOOCs didn’t break 100 until the end of 2012. But by the end of 2013 that number had grown to over 800. And today the number of registered MOOC students added in 2015 is nearly equal to the last three years combined.

From MOOCs Are Still Rising, at Least in Numbers – Wired Campus - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

The scientists encouraging online piracy with a secret codeword

"Basically you tweet out a link to the paper that you need, with the hashtag and then your email address," she told BBC Trending radio. "And someone will respond to your email and send it to you." Who might that "someone" be? Kuszewski says scientists who have access to journals, through subscriptions or the institutions they work at, look out for the tag so they can help out colleagues in need.

From The scientists encouraging online piracy with a secret codeword - BBC News

Academic Phrasebank

The Academic Phrasebank is a general resource for academic writers. It aims to provide you with examples of some of the phraseological ‘nuts and bolts’ of writing organised according to the main sections of a research paper or dissertation (see the top menu ). Other phrases are listed under the more general communicative functions of academic writing (see the menu on the left). The resource should be particularly useful for writers who need to report their research work.The phrases, and the headings under which they are listed, can be used simply to assist you in thinking about the content and organisation of your own writing, or the phrases can be incorporated into your writing where this is appropriate.

From Academic Phrasebank

Wikipedia is significantly amplifying the impact of Open Access publications.

When you edit Wikipedia to include a claim, you are required to substantiate that edit by referencing a reliable source. According to a recent study, the single biggest predictor of a journal’s appearance in Wikipedia is its impact factor. One of the exciting findings, writes Eamon Duede, is that it appears Wikipedia editors are putting a premium on open access content. When given a choice between journals of similar impact factors, editors are significantly more likely to select the “open access” option.

From Impact of Social Sciences – Wikipedia is significantly amplifying the impact of Open Access publications.

Crowdsourced research: Many hands make tight work

Crowdsourcing research can balance discussions, validate findings and better inform policy, say Raphael Silberzahn and Eric L. Uhlmann.

From Crowdsourced research: Many hands make tight work : Nature News & Comment

The Unseen Theft of America’s Literary History

This is a microcosm of the danger facing American archives. Because almost nothing is catalogued at the item-level, most of the unique material housed in these most important of repositories is particularly vulnerable to theft. When someone like Breithaupt steals a book, even a very old book, there is a catalog record that tells us it is missing—and likely some kind of duplicate copy somewhere else in the world. But when he steals a letter from Flannery O’Connor to John Crowe Ransom—unless that letter has been photocopied by another person—it basically ceases to exist. Not only do we not have the information in it, but we don’t even know that we don’t have the information in it.

From The Unseen Theft of America’s Literary History ‹ Literary Hub

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