Higher Education Webinars

Library Babel Fish

A college librarian's take on technology

September 17, 2010 - 4:30am
It has been so long since I posted here, you may think the Babel Fish has gone fishing. In fact, it's just the usual craziness of the semester's start squared. In addition to teaching a first term seminar, serving as department chair, and going AWOL for a few days to attend a family wedding, I've been busy meeting with classes in political science, religion, and gender studies, showing students some of the tools of research. Every librarian involved in this kind of instruction has the occasional crisis of faith. Are the students really getting anything out of this?
September 6, 2010 - 10:00pm
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.
August 31, 2010 - 4:15am
Okay, I know it's a naive question, but why did universities decide that their presses should be profit centers, or should at the very least make enough revenue to cover their expenses? Libraries aren't asked to make enough money to pay for themselves. Libraries and university presses both exist to further knowledge - so why the difference? Why do universities accept the idea that libraries cost money, but assume that disseminating research and sharing knowledge should pay for itself or even be profitable?
August 26, 2010 - 9:15pm
Before I say anything else, I want to praise you for responding so quickly to concerns raised by librarians about the new interface that was just rolled out. You folks grasped the issues, you didn't whitewash the problems, and you laid out a plan to solve them, providing a realistic assessment of how long it will take to make the necessary changes. Bravo.But ... honestly, what was that all about?
August 23, 2010 - 9:30pm
Last week, when I challenged readers to think about how to make open access happen, Jason Baird Jackson had a ready answer: the Open Folklore project. This project is drawing a terrific map for societies unsure of how to proceed.
August 18, 2010 - 9:15pm
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 to support its local clientele?
August 12, 2010 - 7:30pm
Librarians have a love/hate relationship with Google. We are just as prone as any mortal to wonder what on earth we did without it. We use Google tools daily and show students how to use features they may not have discovered. Many of us have gmail and Google Reader accounts. Some of us are paralyzed when Google Calendar takes a nap. We aren't sure where we're supposed to be, so we are tempted to take a nap, too.
August 9, 2010 - 9:00pm
Ever since I read an essay, "The Shock of Inclusion" by Clay Shirky in Edge, I've been pondering the implications of one of the stickiest concepts in the essay: he argues that publishing is the new literacy.
August 5, 2010 - 9:00pm
I just had to do some housecleaning among my RSS feeds. Some of my favorite blogs had moved from Scienceblogs to Scientopia in the wake of PepsiGate.
August 2, 2010 - 9:15pm
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.

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