September 17, 2014

Academic Libraries

NCSU Libraries Spur Innovation Through Alt-Textbook Grants

ncsu

This fall, as part of a $10,000 grant program funded by the NC State University Foundation, NCSU Libraries has invited faculty members to develop alternative course materials. The Alt-Textbook Project is a competitive grant for faculty members to develop free or low-cost alternates to traditional textbooks using open source material.

Collective Wisdom in an Age of Algorithms | Peer to Peer Review

Barbara Fister

Changes to platforms we use regularly are always slightly traumatic, as we invariably discover when we roll out a new library website and the complaints begin, or we find out a database interface has changed radically the day we’re introducing it to students. Platform changes are even more distressing when they are sites to which we contribute content. By creating social circles and sharing information on websites, we often forget they belong to other people who have values and motivations different from ours.

NYPL and U. Penn Partner for In-Person MOOC Support

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Poets through the ages have managed very well without institutional backing. The study of poetry, on the other hand, requires a little more infrastructure. This fall, the New York Public Library (NYPL) will team up with the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House (KWH) to provide a physical space for participants in Professor Al Filreis’s […]

Hard Cases Make Bad Law | Peer to Peer Review

Kevin L. Smith

The legal adage that hard cases make bad law apparently has deep roots in English common law, and it was cited in a Supreme Court decision by no less a Justice than Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Its applicability has been disputed over the years, but in recent weeks we have seen the truth of the maxim illustrated in some copyright debates. Colleagues have recently sent me two different stories where the extremes of copyright law are in play—hard cases, I suppose. Both offer confirmation that when the facts are really well outside the realm of normal expectations, people can draw very bad legal conclusions. But both also offer opportunities to remind ourselves of fundamental truths about law, journalism, and copyright.

Tapping Into the Trust Culture | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

After decades of people trusting authority figures instead of each other, an American revolution is underway. The trust economy signals a reversal. Academic librarians should be thinking more about their trust quotient.

Academic Movers 2014: In Depth with Omar Poler

Omar Poler

In the latest of our In-Depth Interviews with Library Journal Movers & Shakers from academic libraries, we caught up with Omar Poler, an Associate Outreach Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS). Omar Poler has a deep and personal connection to the American Indian community that has been enriched by his library work and motivated him to form the Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums (TLAM) Project, one of the few projects to incorporate American Indian topics into LIS education.

Theory of Change: Foiling Librarianship’s Underpants Gnomes | Peer to Peer Review

Dorothea Salo

The animated television show South Park made a business of touching nerves, but even its creators reportedly did not expect the furor that roared forth over their Underpants Gnomes episode satirizing common workplace beliefs and practices. The Underpants Gnomes’ business plan lives on (slightly altered) in web culture as a shorthand for inadequate, failure-prone product or service planning. I spent my entire library career wallowing in Step 2.

Gale Founder Frederick Ruffner Dies at 88

Frederick Gale Ruffner

Frederick Gale Ruffner, Jr., who founded Gale Research Company with his wife Mary Evans Ruffner, died on August 12 following a long illness. He launched enduring reference works including the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Contemporary Authors, and the Encyclopedia of Associations

Asserting Rights We Don’t Have: Libraries and “Permission To Publish” | Peer to Peer Review

Rick Anderson

In late June, a minor brouhaha erupted when the library at the University of Arkansas suspended reporters from the Washington Free Beacon, an online newspaper, from using its special collections. The reason given by library administrators was that on multiple occasions the newspaper’s reporters had published content from those collections without asking permission, as library policy requires. Much has been made in the right-wing press about the politics supposedly surrounding this conflict. I want to focus on a different issue: the practice of making patrons request library permission before republishing content drawn from documents in our special collections.

If Confusion Helps Students Learn, Shouldn’t They Be Information Literate By Now? | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

When students have trouble grasping the subject matter, intuitively we work to make it as clear as possible. New research suggests actually promoting some confusion may work better. If that’s true, how would it change library instruction?