‘Uncategorized’ Category

Rethinking Research “Productivity”

A recent blog post at the University of Venus, “When Tenure Disappears,” argues that PhD training is limited to training people to become future faculty members, emphasizing rigorous but narrow preparation for jobs that no longer exist. This made me think about a frustration I share with many librarians, the feverish amassing of publications that […]

No Problem!

Late last week, hearings were held in Congress on whether federal agencies that pour billions of tax dollars into research should follow the National Institutes of Health’s example and require that researchers provide a copy of the published research findings to the agencies within twelve months so it can be made publicly accessible. In case […]

Open Access and the Library’s Missing Mission

Dorothea Salo has an interesting post at the Book of Trogool. She wonders about the mission of academic libraries, and about one paradox in particular: Can libraries support the open access movement by reallocating funds from paying for content to providing support for open access publications, or does that somehow go against the library’s mission […]

Cornering the Marketplace of Ideas

There was an interesting story in the New York Times Magazine this past Sunday on a simple, inexpensive, and effective means of bringing malnourished children back to health. It’s a gooey fortified peanut butter called “Plumpy’nut,” and if you want to know how to make it, here’s the recipe. Unfortunately, because the recipe comes in […]

The Great Disconnect: Scholars Without Libraries

I am composing this Babel post without an internet connection, trying to put it together as I airport-hop my way to a conference. It’s a curiously disorienting sensation, trying to write without reference to web content, because these posts tend to be a woven from things I’ve been reading and it feels as wrong to […]

Getting Rid of Books: A Heresy

Libraries are often in a tricky place when it comes to removing books from the collection. It makes some people think we we are so enamored of shiny new electronic toys that we have turned our backs on the traditional purpose of libraries, or that we want to devote space to trendy espresso bars and […]

In the Teeth of the Evidence

One of the things we hope students will learn by seeking out information in the library and online is the value of using evidence in the formulation of ideas. We tend to focus on students’ most immediate need: completing an assignment that is due in the next few weeks. But as we expose them to […]

A Library Written in Disappearing Ink

I’ve been mulling over the bizarre new move by a major publisher to get more blood out of a turnip – or rather, to try and get more money out public libraries at a time when their budgets are being slashed. The librarians’ corner of the Twitterverse has been on fire ever since Library Journal […]

March Madness: Judge Denny Chin Rejects the Google Settlement

When Google launched what Jeffrey Toobin called “Google’s Moon Shot” – its audacious move to digitize the holdings of research libraries in order to make them searchable, Google argued that they were indexing books, not sharing copies of them, so it wasn’t infringement. That argument never made it to court. As Toobin predicted in 2007, […]

The Cost of Freedom (of Information): In Defense of William Cronon

I am a huge fan of open government and of the Freedom of Information Act. The right of the people to request information from public officials is an important tool for journalism, research, and activism. That’s why, as I read responses to a political group’s request for e-mail correspondence from a state employee, my knee […]