Monday, April 22, 2013

'People Don't Read Anymore' and Ten More Reasons Steve Jobs Was Wrong

[Not Scholarly] I'm not really going to post a top ten list (please don't actually click that link)- that's sort of my tongue-in-cheek way of admitting that the means by which we communicate via text have changed substantially. That said, I think Steve Jobs was wrong,when he made his infamous statement,and I think he's ultimately done more damage than he has good in the course of his existence. Here's a video created by a guy who works for IGN named Greg Miller, he's interviewing his weird libertarian roommate about Steve Jobs, and I think the guy actually makes a few good points, even though his only qualifications for discussing Jobs seem to be that he read his biography. Colin and I have similar views on this topic, although I don't know if Jobs is up there with Henry Ford... Maybe the guy who invented cotton candy.  I'll give you all a break from my tirades.  This isn't a dissertation, yay new media!
 

[Somewhat more scholarly] Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get back into the thick of it. There's a great article that I've read a couple times now by John Donatich called 'Why Books Still Matter.' (Journal of Scholarly Publishing, July 2009, 329-342). It talks about statements like Jobs' about how technology will supplant books not just in terms of doing away with print, but also in getting rid of the paradigm of the book .Jobs' statement :

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.” ( John Markoff. 'The Passion of Steve Jobs.' new York Times :Bits. January 15, 2008.)

This is in reference to why Jobs thought things like the kindle and the nook would fail (look what's still thriving five years later, looks like Jobs may not have been such a 'visionary') He was saying that the book as an artifact, as a repository of knowledge, as a scholarly magnum opus was ultimately doomed. Donatich, on the otherhand, is a self-proclaimed bibliophile. Donatich parries this stab, basically saying that yes, indeed we do still need the book because it requires a higher standard of rigor than anything Jobs might be subtly suggesting- if indeed he was suggesting anything beyond whatever makes the most money.

Donatich quips: 'So it has really come to this: the day when the self-appointed experts who write books are finally taken down by the self-appointed experts who write blogs.' (331) Sarcasm aside, I think Donatich makes  a great point here. He goes on ,' And whom should we trust: the career experts who write books and deliberate over their content while researching for years, or the temporary experts who form the chattering class of the blogosphere?' (331) I understand how my statement might appear confusing- arguing against the rigor of blogs on a blog, but I assure you I am simultaneously reading a book while doing so. 

There are several great arguments about why books are important, but coming from a library student, I think the objectivity might be in question. I think it is more interesting to simply ask 'why'? Why are we arguing about whether or not people use books (or will use books), when people around us are using books almost constantly. I think maybe the people who tend to make arguments against books in general, probably wouldn't read much even lacking the technology Jobs champions. As far as transitioning to electronic media- ebooks, kindle, nook, tablet technology- I don't have a great many arguments against that. Old books will not go away quickly. I think the problem for many people who pay attention to trends in technology is that the means to preserve knowledge change so rapidly that it quickly becomes uncertain how proprietary media will be archived and preserved. This is the DRM problem all over again- when you buy a book- you own it. It's yours. When you buy an ebook- you own it as long as your license, and the platform have some form of support. After that, you're on your own. That's going to become the way of the future, and it places the context for access to knowledge squarely in the hands of people who are more interested in selling you iterations of the same thing over and over again than worrying about your right to access your own material culture.

Monday, April 15, 2013

'Service' Does Not Demand Servitude

Reading an article called 'Envisioning the Library's Role in Scholarly Communication in the Year 2025,' I was struck by a very subtle contradiction. About halfway through the article, the authors begin talking about how libraries need to create durable bonds to their user-constituencies by trying explicitly to address the needs of said users. (Carpenter et. al.  663). I completely agree that this is necessary, however later in the same article, the authors discuss how some library directors interviewed for the study thought of their professional employees as providing 'infrastructure'. Here's the quote:

'Director 9 stated "Libraries provide infrastructure but not intellectual leadership, ...[the] library has a role in technology, not necessarily leadership- it has to be case-by-case.' (675).

I absolutely disagree with this. I find it abhorrent intellectual labor practice to continually follow logic like that contained in the following statement : '[D]irectors questioned whether or not librarians have the skills needed to be full partners in the research process.' (677) and then expect librarians to consistently push the boundaries of conventional librarianship based on their professional expertise. I would liken the feeling to hiking up a mountain, getting within sight of the summit, and then having someone waiting a few feet from the top say 'Thanks bro, I've got it from here, you can go back down now'. What?! I'm not trying to question the validity of scholarly research, or to make light of how labor-intensive it can be, I'm merely saying that you can't rely on someone to provide essential research direction, and then act as though their contributions are simple, just because they are institutionally contextualized in a certain way. Maybe librarians should demand more?

'Subject librarians are able to apply findings and collaborate fully with faculty on complex projects because they are viewed as partners in the research process. Librarians play a primary role in managing  information for projects of all sizes...' (669) The argument is partially that we need to move away from the generalist trend in librarianship, in which the librarian does not have professional subject-training . For instance, an art librarian ought to have an MA in art history as well as an MLS, or a librarian at a chemistry library ought to have experience in the field backed up by an advanced degree. I don't have so many arguments against this, other than it is quite a lot of education to expect someone to acquire if you are only going to acknowledge them as 'information managers'.

I can't help hearing echoes of what Dr. Jen Guiliano talks about on her blog with regard to digital humanities 'project management' (she prefers the term 'project developer'). Basically, the idea is that if you are not in certain conventional academic positions of power, your prestige is less simply by virtue of your 'service' orientation. Other authors Guiliano mentions have similar feelings on the matter- for example Mark Sample and Sean Takats. These are all digital humanists who do a great deal of work facilitating, directing and designing research, as well as providing vital resources, expertise, and elbow grease to a multitude of research initiatives. Their respective efforts are at least as valuble (if not more so) than the end results of any particular avenue of publishing. I feel a certain kinship with the above bloggers/academics because librarians are in the same boat.

Our profession is changing, and sometimes I wonder if we are trying to do too many things at once.  Carpenter et. al. conclude that 'the changing landscape of research, open access, data mining, and managing information and intellectual property rights has added urgency to the need to define the library's role in scholarly communication.' ( 678) They are mostly talking about collaboration between librarians and other academic forms of output, publishing in-house for instance. I would simply ask, what do librarians stand to gain from taking on even more responsibility without also demanding greater prestige, or if we are not going to deal in the figurative dough (of academia- esteem, recognition), perhaps we ought to at least demand some more of the literal kind. If not actual pay-raises, through unionizing (as some librarians have done with varying degrees of success) academic librarians can demand access to the intellectual capital they help to generate. It's almost a proletarian issue. I am consistently frustrated by 'library-land's' general ambivalence about exactly what type of profession it represents- a service profession, an intellectual pursuit, both? I think that librarians can be user-focused, without thinking of users as 'customers'. I think that intellectual labor can be recognized in a fair way that amounts to more than a polite nod at the end of a day reading in the stacks. Many academics already do this sort of thing in the acknowledgement pages of their books, but I think we need to learn to ask a little more. We need to leverage the undeniable benefits we provide as academic librarians to keep the 'academic library' off the hand-to-mouth funding plan that has lately become a trend.

Articles

'Carpenter, M. Graybill, J., Offort, J., and Piorun, M. (2011). 'Envisioning the Library's Role in Scholarly Communication in the Year 2025.' Libraries and the Academy 11:2, 659-681. Web. Accessed 4/13/13.

Blogs

Jen Guiliano

http://jenguiliano.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/dont-call-me/#comments

Mark Sample

http://www.samplereality.com/2013/02/08/when-does-service-become-scholarship/

Sean Takats

http://quintessenceofham.org/2013/02/07/a-digital-humanities-tenure-case-part-2-letters-and-committees/





Monday, April 8, 2013

Institutional Repositories- OhioLINK and Japanese Art History

Institutional Repositories (IR) are a good idea. There are various foundational motivations that range from altruism on the part of the contributing scholar (Kim 251) to archiving and digital preservation.With numerous justifications, one would think the impetus to create and maintain IRs would be strong. Not exactly. The pressing issue seems to be how to get IRs off the ground in a systematic sense. At this point, many IRs languish in 'that's a good idea' purgatory. Jihyun Kim's 2011 study found that out of the 1500 respondents (all faculty at Carnegie doctorate-granting universities with available IRs) only 621 (41.4%) had materials in an IR. Perhaps the most striking evidence of the library community's inability to effective 'sell' the IR concept is that many professors had deposited something, and were not even aware that they had done so. Kim says,  'Even if their materials were already deposited in IRs, 76 faculty members were unaware of them[at all], and 171 professors reported that they had not contributed to IRs [when in fact they had]. This indicated that a discrepancy exists between IR deposits and IR participation as self-reported by faculty.' (Kim 249). Wow.

Cullen and Chawner press on, "Humanities scholars are shown to have low awareness of repositories and their value to the research community, perceive the value of repositories to be to the reader, rather than the scholar depositing and have on-going concerns about reposititores, such as peer review, plagiarism , and intellectual property ownership.Humanities scholars are less aware and make significantly less use of e-publications...[and] are not so much interested in the research outputs of a particular institution, but rather what is available in a particular field.' (462-3). This is pretty true in my experience.

When I was completing my MA in Art History back in 2009 at University of Cincinnati, we were required as part of our program to deposit our theses in a consortium repository designed specifically for dissertation and theses. OhioLINK was basically just the last hurdle to getting your degree beyond passing a committee defense of your thesis, and finishing qualifying exams. (Here's me:http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi?acc_num=ucin1242853913). I didn't really think anything of it at the time. Curiously, the established academics at UC were not required to make similar deposits. I realize that the reasons behind OhioLINK ETD are more about keeping copies of thesis and dissertations to prove academic achievement, completion of degrees, etc, but there was most definitely an added benefit. If you follow the link above (pardon the self-promotion, I promise there is a point to it) you can see how many times the thesis has been downloaded in a box at the bottom of the page. I actually received two calls from interested parties about the nature of Kuniyoshi's social awareness, etc. Now, I can honestly say I put a lot of work into this thing, and it would've been pretty disappointing if it had simply been shelved in a closed-stack and subsequently been left to languish as a paper brick in a wall of similar paper bricks- signifying nothing more than  another menial academic task completed. Because one can simply google my name or the name of the subject of my thesis, 'Utagawa Kuniyoshi' and eventually find the thesis and download it for free, my work has been effectively 'published'. I'm all for free press, personally, and I expect many more established scholars would be as well, if the idea is pitched correctly.

Japanese art history is a very interesting field, if not particularly well codified in the US- there are relatively  few journals devoted to the subject (when compared to contemporary art, or American art), and its mostly part of the larger 'East Asian Art and Antiquity' scene. Of course, there are numerous brilliant and thorough scholars at work in the field- my two favorite are Timon Screech (University of London) and my mentor Mikiko Hirayama (University of Cincinnati), but how many of them are systematically disseminating their research in these new digital capacities? Wouldn't this sort of central repository- something like arXive (http://arxiv.org/) work really well for a field that has problems with collecting research at a central point?

Why, as Cullen and Chawner mention, do humanities scholars in particular have problems with IRs? My gut reaction is that humanities, or art history to a large extent (Japanese art history in particular), is not really a collaborative discipline. As a result, the anxiety about being 'scooped' may be well-founded. Also, there are problems with translation- after all art is supremely idiomatic. At many points, language is a barrier to scholarship because it imposes many semantic questions in addition to those of aesthetics, social context, and grappling with hegemonic narratives such as Orientalism (via Said). Because so much work goes into interpretation, and untangling the knot of interwoven narratives (rather than strictly empirical research) the outcomes of scholarship tend to be more about individual viewpoints than some sort of scientific body of data. As such, sharing research is, as the authors note, more useful to the reader- who may be a student, a curator, or a private collector, than it is to the active scholar. I think these problems can be mitigated, but it's going to require tailoring the subject IR to the specific idiosyncrasies of each individual discipline. This in itself is part of what makes institutional IRs somewhat less desirable from a humanities standpoint. They tend to be designed for the sciences, since such things have existed for years in said disciplines. The only advice I can offer beyond moving toward subject IRs, is that university IRs could be connected in larger consortial or national constellations that are subsequently managed by discipline. To do this, the IR mandate (from a governmental angle) would be most effective- requiring for instance that all scholars who publish at institutions which take government funding of any kind (including work study, and other funds that have nothing specific to do with scholarship) deposit in a national IR.

Works Cited

Cullen, R. and Chawner, B. (2011). ' Institutional Repositories, Open Access, and Scholarly Communication: A Study of Conflicting Paradigms.' The Journal of ACademic Librarianship 37:6, 460-470. Web. Accessed 4/1/13.

Kim, J. (2011). 'Motivations of Faculty Self-Archiving in Institutional Repositories.'The Journal of Academic Librarianship 37:3, 246-254. Web. Accessed 4/1/13.

Pinfield, S. (2005). 'A Mandate to Self ARchive? The Role of Open Access in Institional Repositories.' Serials 18:1, 30-34. Web. Accessed 4/2/13.



Monday, April 1, 2013

Article Evaluation- A Caveat

Systematic ranking systems for online journal articles are a good idea in theory. They allow one to get a sense of the article's worth before it is actually read, saving scholars and students valuable time in which they could be doing other work.That said, ranking systems can take a subjective stance and serve to legitimize it as objective. There is a right way and a wrong way to frame such evaluation. The best means, I think, is to rate articles on particular characteristics that can be measured rather than on subjective qualities like 'relevance'.  Case in point: 'The Five Stars of Online Journal Articles- A Framework for Article Evaluation,' by David Schotton of University of Oxford. This system uses a five quality rubric to grade how well an article stacks up in terms of its web-accessible content. Schotton explains: 'I propose five factors- peer review, open access, enriched content, available datasets, and machine-readable metadata- as the Five Stars of Online Journal Articles, a constellation of five independent criteria within a multidimensional publishing universe against which online journal articles can be evaluated, designed to characterize the potential for improvement to the journal article made possible by Web technologies...the proposed Five Stars...are complimentary, forming a constellation arranged along five independent axes within a multidimensional publishing universe, each of which can be evaluated on its own merits. Of course, the degree of achievement along each of these publishing axes can vary, equivalent to the different stars within the constellation shining with varying luminosities.' (4-5). Basically, the author uses the five categories to rate articles before and after an intervention in which each category of an article is addressed to improve its standing. The underlying impetus might be that all articles can be improved by an extended editorial process aimed specifically at online accessibility.

This sort of review is related to those in which citation analysis is used to determine the standing of an author or an article based on who, where, and how much an article/author is cited. These methods on their own, used properly, are entirely legitimate and useful, but when taken out of context, they do a disservice to  reviewers, publishers, and the authors themselves. I found myself wondering when reading the aforementioned article by David Shotton what would happen if a reviewer on a tenure committee simply pulled up a completed review, like that which Shotton proposes, of an author who- while maintaining high levels of academic rigor, quality writing, and extensive relevant research, simply wasn't very good at utilizing technology. If the administrator didn't read through Shotton's article, but just used his system (assuming it becomes ubiquitously adopted ) wouldn't it end up overstating the importance of web-accessibility at the expense of the individual author? I'm not against moving toward complete web-access to scholarship by any means, I just think there needs to be a way to imbed the qualifications we understand as reviewers and bibiliometricians into our final reviews so that those making the reviews and those reading them are on the same page. It becomes more and more evident how important it is to completely understand the tool before one relies on it, the more one reads about such things.

Works Cited

Shotton, D. (2012). 'The Five Stars of Online Journal Articles- A Framework for Article Evaluation.' D-Lib Magazine 18:1/2. Web. Accessed 3/27/13.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Open Access: Is This Even a Debate?

Sometimes I think we assume that every issue must have two sides to it- that there must surely be reasonable arguments for either position within a given topic. From my recent readings on information policy, I think this has something to do with the way in which network news was regulated until the Reagan administration. Until the 70s-80s, news organizations were legally required in the US to give an equal-airtime presentation of both sides of a given issue. Since there were so few networks, anchors like Walter Cronkite served as representatives of a public trust. While there are morbid caricatures of this idea in present-day networks (Fox news has something like this idea, where the network's byline 'fair and balanced' is an ironic statement to Fox's critics). As Americans are notoriously selective about their historical reminiscences, I would point out the following:  I think that in much the same way FOX represents the interests of a few conservative oligarchs, the arguments against open access represent mostly the interests of publishers or those benefiting from the status quo in contemptible ways. I don't think open access -as a complete idea (access provided rather than access restrained by pay-to-read fees)- has any decent arguments against it. That's a bold statement, I realize, but here's my logic.

One might argue, as numerous authors do, against the long-term viability to the open access gold model, for instance, in which a journal is published free-to-use and paid for with APCs (author publishing charges)- but it's pretty hard to argue as a scholar that open access doesn't have substantial merit as a general concept.

The benefits are myriad. Among them are:

Open access facilitates scholarly communication. This is true in multiple capacities. Not only does depositing one's research in an institutional repository make it more widely available than not doing so, but there is some evidence that such measures actually increase one's scholarly prestige. If a university uses common bibliometric citation methods when considering tenure, open access can add what Eysenbach calls 'open access advantage.' (1) Essentially, this advantage is a result of 'increased visibility' of one's research that allows for a) greater citation potential b) end-user uptake advantage (more people can access the research to read it c) a greater potential, based on a and b, of being used in a heretofore unconceived-of way via interdisciplinary scholarship (Eysenbach 3).

 Open access takes steps to solve the cost-problem with regard to serials.Obviously, this isn't news to any librarian. As I've noticed in my recent research, open access does have it's drawbacks. Namely that nobody is going to publish, archive, edit and maintain a journal out of the goodness of their heart. Costs have to be met, which can be done in various ways. Authors paying publishing costs from grants or their parent institutions is perhaps part of the solution. The real benefit of open access is that it is a threat to conventional publishing models, which as has been noted elsewhere, are based on a system in which journals were delivered by steamship and pony. Eventually, this could cause costs to come down simply for the sake of competition. For once, perhaps, the market-deterministic model works for the academy.


In order for these benefits to be achieved, substantial changes need to occur. There are numerous ways for open access to work- the green road in which mandated contribution to IRs may be part of working with a federal grant, or the gold road in which journals are published and available in their complete forms as OA, but must be subsidized by authors and contributing institutions. I can't help feeling like we need to just scrap any suggestions we get from the old model and start from the ground up. I agree with Hahn et al's suggestion that 'Ultimately, federal mandates for OA that return the investment value of research to taxpayers will wield a great deal of influence in reform measures.' (6)

Academics and researchers need to stop being so idealistic about publishing and scientific communication. Step away from the drawing board and pick up the tools, as it were. As with any undertaking that involves money, someone is going to be in the running for the wrong reason- just to exploit the market and rake in the cash. Those producing the research and dealing in scholarly reputation need to leverage their intellectual capital to ensure that their research- as well as various other contributions- are put to use in a way that benefits their profession, and the whole of society. Open access, green or gold, libre or gratis, is a way for the intellectual proletariat to reclaim the means of production from large publishers, and to put it to use for  research outcomes and other ends that justify all the labor being poured into it. I honestly have yet to encounter an argument against open access that amounts to more than either a) it is hard and will require a culture change or b) it will put enormous publishers out of business. To 'a' I would answer 'good'. We need a culture change. To 'b' I would say that many publishers have been operating on a bloated profit margin for quite some time now, and can either choose to adopt open access models, reduce the cost of their journals so as to be viable competition, or go out of business. There are, of course, journals which are published by academic societies that have a narrow margin of profit- these journals are natural allies to open access because their primary motivation is an extension of that of their parent organization.The only loser I see is the status quo- OA has the potential to reinvigorate scholarship across the board and provide a more equitable level of access to taxpayers, and stakeholders within academia proper.

Works Cited

Eysenbach, G (2006). 'The Open Access Advantage.' Journal of Medical Internet Research 8:2. Web. Accessed 3/19/13.

Bjork, B.C. and Solomon, D (2012). 'Open Access Versus Subscription Journals: A Comparison of Scientific Impact.' BMC Medicine 10:1, 73-83. Web. Accessed 3/18/13/

Solomon, D.J. and Bjork, B.C. (2012). 'Publication Fees in Open Access Publishing: Sources of Funding and Factors Influencing Choice of Journal.' Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 63:1, 98-107. Web. Accessed 3/17/13.

Hanh, T.B., Burright, M., Duggan, H.N. (2011). 'Has the Revolution in Scholarly Communication Lived Up to Its Promise?' Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (Online) 37:5, 24-28. Web. Accessed 3/21/13.




Monday, March 11, 2013

Deconstruction v. deconstruction

When recently reading an article in Computational Neuroscience regarding scholarly journals and the way in which we maintain workflows, methods of assessment, marketing, and preparation in publishing, I found myself thoroughly disappointed. Here's the basic case- Jason Priem and Bradley Hemminger wrote 'Decoupling the Scholarly Journal' with an ostensibly admirable mission in mind. They are trying to bring the means of publishing out of the seventeenth century (as they note on at least three occasions), and more in line with what they call the 'author's interests'. After all, as they say, 'the journal is [presently] built around the delivery of ink and paper by horses and boats.' (11)

The propose of retooling is that by taking the various parts of the academic journal, and rearranging them to better suit needs of the author in the 'internet-era' they claim to want also to make journals more efficient. Textbook deconstruction right? Sorta. The real point of deconstruction, as readers of Jacques Derrida will already know, is to analyze formally for the underlying linguistic and systematic assumptions. It is semiotic when applied to the Text (the reason for which deconstruction was originally imagined). As it was later utilized by post-modernists the world over, deconstruction fundamentally tries to overturn the hierarchical nature of classical dichotomies of thought (e.g. good/evil, man/woman) in an effort to provide an upset in power. Derrida thinks of classical dualities as hierarchical in nature because one always supersedes the other- good is always better than evil, in classical thought what is old is better than what is new, therefore the purpose of deconstruction is to turn conventional assumptions on their respective heads by disrupting the hierarchies on which they base meaning. Deconstruction is not simply taking something apart and then putting it back together in a new form, with the same old assumptions applying. I am not 'Deconstructing' my computer when I take it apart to put in a new motherboard. I am reconstructing it. Therefore the authors' use the word 'decoupling' as a 'programing term' that hedges the exercise in which they are quite obviously trying to engage.

The author's speak of 'revolution' (also possibly a programming term) without having any idea what actual revolution merits (12). They say 'We suggest that this revolution will result in a more diverse and decentralized metajournal. In this DcJ [decoupled journal], authors will adapt their work's form and make it retrievable with the help of external service providers. They will market it over richly connected networks with the help of specialists or without. They will certify it in dozens of ways using hundreds or thousands of competing stamping and ranking agencies and algorithms. And all this data will be managed, organized, and curated by a set or relevance and ranking tools that will present customized views of the metajournal for scholars, practitioners, and administrators alike.' (12) Basically, they advocate competing 'certification' agencies from which the author may choose (and then pay from his/her own pocket) -[underlying assumption, market forces will decide the best certification], as well as copy-editors who will be paid for by the author -[market forces will decide the best copy editor] *, and marketing strategies [again, the market decides] that will be undertaken through social media by the author. Do we see a trend here?

Toward the end of the article they say , 'Services will compete based on prestige, cost, turnaround time, and quality of feedback; most will fail to find enough users to be relevant (or solvent), but some will flourish. These will have proven their worth.' (9) Rarely have I seen such a succinct summation of the mechanisms of neoliberal trial- a system of determining the best method by modeling it on an oversimplified reading of the process of biological evolution. The authors are fooling themselves that they are doing anything other than rehashing the same underlying assumptions on which  publishers function today. Reading this article made me question again whether one really can dismantle the master's house using the master's tools.

Sources

Priem, J. and Hemminger, B.M. (2012). 'Decoupling the Scholarly Journal.' Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 6, 1-13. Web. Accessed 3/8/13.


*I would recommend the author's rethink their stance on copy-editors being relatively expendable. Errors abound.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Reflections on Citation Analysis for Collection Enhancement

A few articles about citation analysis and how it might be used to curate collections have got me thinking about the underlying assumptions of collection development.

Two quotes in particular are bracing my thoughts at the moment:

1. 'One 2002 [civil engineering] graduate expressed the situation quite succinctly: "Money equals a topic in engineering." (Fuchs et. al 315)

This quote made me think about how funding, with regard to the 'flush' academic disciplines could potentially be a more powerful guider of intellectual inquiry than what might follow logically from the actual intellectual flow of said discipline. I hear people in these disciplines (medicine, engineering, economics) talk about procuring funding via grants before they even start their research and am partially amazed. For one thing, if I were about to do a paper for a conference in sociology or art history, I would have very little chance of getting funding unless I just sort of committed to some prevailing trend or institution (like a museum with an endowment for study of a particular artist, for instance). This strikes a chord because the research a fellow student and I have been doing seems to suggest that neoliberal trends in funding may to some extent dictate the actual outcomes of research- because scholars, like artists, gotta eat- and so must find a means to get reimbursed for their time. This is less true in art history, where we are sustained largely by coffee and bitter tears.

2. This quote comes from a short article by Laurel A. Haycock, a librarian at the University of Minnesota. She writes , 'In many academic libraries, funds for purchases are allocated by discipline, and within the discipline the allocation is divided between serial and monograph purchases. Budget constraints may preclude any changes in allocations; however, having some indication of use offers an opportunity to reconsider the allocation ratio. Such comparisons can be problematic for the discipline of education because education acquisitions in large academic research collections may be supported not only by an education fund buy also by funds from many other disciplines.' (104)

So is interdisciplinary supporting a cynical grab for funding in the case of educational psychology? Neoliberalism again, here we go. This led me to think about the prevailing idea that monographs are being used less than serials BECAUSE people find monographs less useful than serials. Is this true? The readings I have done lately (e.g. Kayongo and Helm 64) note that books are cited nearly as frequently as journals in various disciplines (if not moreso), particularly the humanities and social sciences. This is a case in which we can notice the neoliberal trend whereby the market dictates what we see as 'reality'. Librarians doing collection development tend to devote a large portion of their budgets to getting serials for three main reasons- 1. Necessity- journals are expensive and are getting moreso, thus to keep the same number of journals they must pay more, and that money must be spent at the expense of other categories of material. 2. Journals offer more current information because they are published in a more timely manner than monographs. 3. The prevailing perception that academics REQUIRE journals more than they REQUIRE monographs. This last supposition is basically just internalizing the neoliberal market logic- we pay more for something, therefore, it must be more valuable- i.e. market determines value, and not the other way around.

In essence, what I am asking is simple: who should really be determining what is valuable to academics? Shouldn't librarians and academics work together, disregarding 'trends' in market share to various types of materials and instead letting the course of research determine whether money ought to be spent on serials, monographs, etc? I think open-access has the potential to remedy some of these problems, but I also think that at some point we are going to need to rip the bloated neoliberal parasite from the neck of academia if we are to keep it relevant and serious as an autonomous entity. It may, indeed, already be too late.

Hoffmann, K and Doucette, L. (2012). 'A Review of Citation Analysis Methodologies for Collection Management.' College & Research Libraries, 73(4), 321-335. Web. Accessed 3/1/13/

Fuchs, B. E., Thomsen, C.M., Bias, R.G., Davis, D.G, (2006). 'Behavioral Citation Analysis: toward Collection Enhancement for Users.' College & Research Libraries, 67 (4), 304-324. Web. Accessed 2/28/13.

Haycock, L.A., (2004). 'Citation Analysis of Education Dissertations for Collection Development.' Library Resources and Technical Services, 48(2), 102-106. Web. Accessed 3/2/13.

Kayongo, J., and Helm, C, (2012). 'Relevance of Library Collections for Graduate Student Research: A Citation Analysis Study of Doctoral Dissertations at Notre Dame.' College & Research Lirbaries, 73 (1), 47-67. Web. Accessed 2/28/13.