Barbara Fister

I'm a librarian who works at the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library, Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and and a writer of blog posts, articles, grocery lists, columns, twitter posts, and mysteries


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The content of the Library Babel Fish blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. I'm grateful to Inside Higher Ed for being so open-minded and progressive about these things. Feel free to share, reuse, and remix. Attribution would be appreciated.

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Most Recent Articles

September 22, 2011
I’m getting ready to be a panelist for Library Journal’s second virtual summit on ebooks. I have ten minutes to present some thoughts on marketing ebook collections in academic libraries. My fellow panelists will have lots to say in their ten minutes. One of the panelists is from a library that offers over a million ebooks, and we’re not talking free public domain titles. The other panelist will discuss how to cope with the various formats and digital rights management hurdles.
September 12, 2011
The book based on the Hacking the Academy project is now online and soon will be available in print from Digital Culture Books, the innovative open access imprint of the University of Michigan Press - also known as MPub. This publishing enterprise, integrated into the library and beyond, is where you should look if you want to know what the open future could look like.
August 29, 2011
An issue currently highlighted in the New York Times’ Room for Debate feature is on whether research papers are a "waste of time" and no longer “justifiable as a means of grading a college student's performance.” As regular Babel Fish readers will know, I am not a huge fan of teaching the research paper as a
August 25, 2011
I just checked the definition of syllabus in the Oxford English Dictionary. It states what I used to assume it meant: “a statement of the subjects covered by a course of instruction or by an examination, in a school, college, etc.; a programme of study.” The oldest quotation using the word is from 1656, when it meant something more along the lines of a table of contents or concordance. The best quote, though, is from 1939 and is taken from W. H. Auden’s “Commentary” in Journey to War:
August 17, 2011
I’m always interested in what Project Information Literacy is up to.
August 10, 2011
Google has been driving me crazy. Until this week, I had used our campus version of Google apps for my calendar (so it can easily synch with various campus calendars) and another Google account for my RSS feeds (because there wasn’t a Google Reader available for the campus accounts). These are things I use often, so I have live bookmarks on my Firefox toolbars and have moved easily from one to another – apparently more often than I realized until the day Google changed the way multiple accounts are handled.
August 2, 2011
A couple of new articles forthcoming in College & Research Libraries just caught my eye. The first, by Brett Bodemer of Cal Poly in San Obispo, is about how we help undergraduates conceptualize the research process (and how we might do it better).
July 28, 2011
 I don’t know what Aaron Swartz planned to do with the four million or so articles that he downloaded from JSTOR in violation of their terms of use, but it has made me wonder something: what would it cost for academic institutions to band together to buy the most used portion of JSTOR and set it free?  
July 19, 2011
. . . who knew? As I write this, the Minnesota state capital has opened its doors after a nineteen-day state shutdown, and legislators (if they stick to their agreement) will likely pass a group of budget bills and end the longest legislative tantrum, er, state government shutdown in history. Though I was glad the state university systems were spared – they had enough cash reserves that they could continue teaching the courses students had enrolled in and paid tuition for – it was interesting to see just how surprised the public was when the state wasn’t there.

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