Digital Scholarship: State of Mind

6807361770_9c95bfd5b6_zAs a new academic year begins – how’s your glass? Half full? Half empty?

We are excited to have students and faculty teeming back into the library as the school year begins on campus. We work with students of all ages at a university. Gen-Xer’s and Millennials make us look at life from their point of view. They make us learn.

Read the Class of 2020 Mindset List from Beloit College at the beginning of this semester. Item #15 may be relevant as we roll out new services at the University Libraries.

15. They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.

Our invitation to all students and faculty is to make an appointment with a librarian on your schedule!

In this season of change, find meaning and purpose in reading. We recommend a new work of fiction –  The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047  by Lionel Shriver. It is scary (as in this could be happening right now) good!

“The Mandibles is about money. Thus it is necessarily about bitterness, rivalry, and selfishness—but also about surreal generosity, sacrifice, and transformative adaptation to changing circumstances.” Wall Street Journal

Reading broadly about higher education, you may agree with both of the following articles.

Is “uberization” the term that now defines higher education? From David Theo Goldberg’s essay The Dangers of the Uberization of Higher Education:

“Broadly conceived, Uber represents on-demand access, a claim to a flawless experience with minimized hassle, immediate gratification, all at the best going rates. It provides a digital platform drawing together the elements necessary for instant delivery while hiding from view some of the significant delivery costs, such as maintenance and operations, health care and Social Security.”

Joshua Kim counters in The Bright Future of Higher Ed and asks “Is it possible to be simultaneously believably positive and realistically critical about the future of postsecondary education?”  He finds hope in our students, our educators and our practices.

Today’s students are smarter, more interesting, and more curious than at any time in the past. I attribute much of the goodness I see in our students to the fact that our student bodies are ever more diverse. Diverse by gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin, and every other way that we measure diversity. This diversity has brought an energy to our campuses that did not exist when I was an undergraduate (1987-1991) – a diversity path that will only expand following future demographic trends.

On the digital scholarship front, Barbara Fister sums up a rapidly changing landscape in The Acceleration of Open Access

…with so many projects taking off, and with such robust platforms rolling out to challenge whatever the big corporations will have to offer, I’m feeling pretty optimistic about our capacity to align the public value of scholarship with our daily practices – and optimistic about the willingness of rising scholars to change the system.

Happy new year! Work hard! Be kind! Read!

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