An Accidental Academic (Librarian)

RSS
A rough guide to spotting bad science — from Compound Interest
If I’ve ever remarked that a particular study was bad science or shouldn’t have been published, chances are it possessed several characteristics from this list.

A rough guide to spotting bad science — from Compound Interest

If I’ve ever remarked that a particular study was bad science or shouldn’t have been published, chances are it possessed several characteristics from this list.

Feb 7

Good job, Berkeley: Faculty win fight to preserve Berkeley libraries

"Close lots of library locations on campus, or close fewer and see services reduced at most of the remaining locations. Faced with those options in light of a budget crunch, the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley aid no to both and set out to find alternative funding sources to save the library — all 25 locations."

Resource: Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States

Online and interactified:

image

Someone has made fake London Underground signs, and whoever did it is a ruddy genius.

Someone do this with library signage! Please!

jakbowler:

http://imgur.com/a/lUWTG

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

(Source: jakwith0utthec)

Jan 4
I would so play the hell out of this game.

I would so play the hell out of this game.

The proliferation of satirical news and commentary sites ensures that I’ll never run out of fodder for workshops on information evaluation and checking your sources.

What to expect from libraries in the 21st century

It’s good to be reminded sometimes not only how we’re doing what we do, but why.

When You’ve Won a Nobel, You Can Do These Things

So this week Nobel-winning biologist Randy Schekman announced that his lab is not going to submit to Science, Nature, or Cell anymore, asserting that science must “break the tyranny of luxury journals.”

It is true that pressure to publish in the top-tier “name brands” of scholarly publishing is one of the factors inhibiting change in this arena. As an extremely minor academic at a teaching-oriented institution I have a fair amount of freedom when I do publish, but if you’re going for tenure at an R1—or even hoping to land a position that might one day lead to same—a paper in Cell goes way farther than one published in PLoS.

Librarians have been trying to shift this state of affairs for years, not least because the top-flight journals also tend to be the most expensive. (The price of the three listed above alone eats up a significant portion of my science journals budget.) But faculty aren’t going to publish in OA journals just because we say they should. They’re going to publish where their work is likely to not only be read, but earn them prestige. This is an entirely reasonable thing for them to do, especially considering the state of the academic job market these days.

What it’ll take is scholars like Schekman leading change by example. And frankly, it’ll have to be scholars like Schekman, because they can afford it.

Dec 2

Print (Still) Ain’t Dead

Some research by a marketing agency in the UK made a small amount of news last week due to the apparently startling news that a majority of 16-to-24-year-olds prefer print books to e-books.

This is interesting but I don’t think it’s really all that surprising. Previous studies show that e-reader devices are still kind of a luxury item, and most high school and college students don’t have them. Yeah, you can read books on your phone or your computer, but this research suggests these kids aren’t doing that, either, even if they’re using those devices for most other kinds of media.

I think we’re seeing the continuing development of a hybrid environment that’s going to persist for some time. When academic publishers started offering print or e-books, I was having a hard time choosing one or the other, though some disciplines made their preferences clear (nursing wanted e-books) and some didn’t care because they don’t really use monographs for research (most natural sciences).

Now I think that publishers should adopt the hybrid model themselves. Bundle your print and e-books together, and attach them to the same library catalog record. What I’m seeing is that patrons prefer the electronic form for browsing—to figure out whether something is useful for their needs.

But when they sit down to read? They still want it on the printed page.

Scarecrow Video: How an endangered Seattle icon could win you back | Mónica Guzmán

Seems to me this store has realized the same thing libraries have: there’s a certain kind of person who values this kind of personal expertise, and there are more of these people than we’ve successfully reached through traditional and time-honored methods. Much of what’s valuable about the Scarecrow experience is what’s valuable about the library experience. I hope enough people have realized this in time.