“I can tell you that the days of white, wealthy, upper-class students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over. This is unfortunate because it is this demographic that puts their name on buildings, donates great art and subsidizes scholarships.”
“When considering the future of learning institutions in a digital age, it is important to look at the ways that digitality works to cross the boundaries within and across traditional learning institutions. How do collaborative, interdisciplinary, multi-institutional learning spaces help transform traditional learning institutions and, specifically, universities? For example, how are the hierarchies of expertise-the ranks of the professoriate and also the divide of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty (including adjunct faculty, tenure-track junior faculty, and tenured and distinguished faculty)-supported and also undermined by new digital possibilities? Are there collaborative modes of digital learning that help us to rethink traditional pedagogical methods? And what might learning institutions loo like-what should they look like-given the digital potentialities and pitfalls at hand today?”
Via The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age / Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg. (3-4)
“The Good Old Days” revived at Bill’s Gay Nineties-ad from ca. 1940 via the Menden Collection, the Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College.
The title of this post brazenly repurposed from Smith College’s Archives Concentration’s program flyers seen around their fine campus.
“The ways libraries operate has been deeply influenced by trends in retailing. Barnes and Noble borrowed library décor to furnish their stores, and libraries then had to borrow it back after learning that our patrons love of bookish and comfortable reading spaces was not being nourished in libraries. We had an awesomely vast catalog of books in Worldcat, but it wasn’t until our patrons showed up with Amazon printouts that we realized how shortsighted it was to confine all that information about books to a fairly clunky library-based subscription database. We had accrued a lot of cultural capital, but we didn’t value it until corporations borrowed it and began to exploit it.
One bit of library capital that hasn’t been borrowed by social media companies is our respect for privacy as a condition fundamental to intellectual freedom. We don’t want to look over your shoulder when you read. We don’t want to provide information about what you’re reading to others. This runs against prevailing ideas about how social relationships work. Even JSTOR is trying out a way of trading limited free access to articles in exchange for data that publishers can use. In the absence of any access, this seems like a good deal, but it’s not clear to me why we can’t do better. I already click through a copyright statement every time I use JSTOR because I prefer not to tie what I read to a personal account. I suppose JSTOR might say establishing personal accounts will improve our user experience, but I’m not buying it.”
Geeking out on the ARL DH kit!
Steven Daiber’s Atlantic Coast 1963, 2002
I rarely look at the top journals these days. I canceled my subscriptions to all but the most relevant—Foreign Policy, for example, is one I will continue to read. Why? I read it because it comes out every month, and it’s timely and interesting. When I want to read what my esteemed colleagues have to say about theory or current events, I turn to the Foreign Policy website, which includes some of the best blogs by the top names in my field. They are talking to each other, and others are leaving important and interesting comments—in effect, “peer reviewing” is happening in real time, and in a transparent way. Intellectual discourse is moving forward at a rapid pace, not in the glacial quarterly publishing of journals.
This post hits at the many reasons why I teach the spectrum of scholarly sources as opposed to focusing on the age old binary of SCHOLARLY AND NOT SCHOLARLY. There’s so much good stuff on the blogosphere, in the twitterverse and in working papers that are relevant for students AND faculty. #breakthemonographmodel
Sun at my back, reading journals.
The ability to synthesize different perspectives into the big picture is far more powerful than narrow expertise in any single field. The social sciences offer perspectives from vantage points separated by time, place and society. Drawing and painting offer perspectives on what perspective even means. Critical thinking is the logical result of being able to simultaneously synthesize multiple ideas in one’s mind. Real-world problems rarely ever have textbook solutions. More than anything, the purpose of a college education is to learn how to think critically and what questions to ask. Liberal arts colleges aim to mold their students into well-rounded, well-informed global citizens with a wide skill set — whether it is through elective or voluntary courses that push specialized students to be broader, or general requirements that force every graduate to know at least something about certain subjects. In the throes of our current economic crisis, all conventional strategies for success are moot. All the more reason for a liberal arts education that creates resilient people who can invent creative solutions and always have new ways by which to try things differently. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited; imagination encircles the world.