- Big Publishing Wants To Co-Opt The Open Textbook Revolution is a post on the Fast Company website that claims that after years of opposition, traditional college textbook publishers are trying to co-opted the open textbook movement. Author Steven Melendez notes the success of open textbook programs like OpenStax, a nonprofit run by Rice University; the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library and MIT’s OpenCourseWare project. He then goes on to discuss how publishers are offering new pricing models and unique packages blending open material with their own content in order “to get a piece of the action.”
- A pirating service for academic journal articles could bring down the whole establishment is an post on the Quartz website that discusses the danger that rogue pirating service Sci-Hub poses to traditional scholarly publishing. Author Kevin Collins notes that “according to a new study by data scientist Daniel Himmelstein of the University of Pennsylvania, Sci-Hub contains 68.9% of all academic research. More to the point: 85.2% of all papers originally published behind paywalls are available on the website for free… The new study concludes “that Sci-Hub’s extensive catalogue is making the subscription publishing model “unsustainable.”
- Open access monograph dash could lead us off a cliff is a cautionary essay by Marilyn Deegan, professor of digital humanities and honorary research fellow at King’s College London. While admitting that “wider access to our books is, on the face of it, an unalloyed good,” she insists that “we should not ignore the downsides” of open access publishing, especially as it relates to monographs. she fears that it may destroy and “academic publishing industry that has served us well.”
- This Is the Future of Libraries in the Digital Age appears on the AD website and says that with “the cyberage in full swing… smart design is keeping demand for the printed word alive.” It notes that ” when downtown Seattle’s new public library opened in 2004 … many assumed that physical tomes would soon go the way of the card catalog and the cassette tape. More than a decade later, however, demand for the printed word—and its place in libraries—remain strong. The article goes on to discuss how this is “reflected in high-quality library design” noting that at the New York Public Library’s “recently opened 53rd Street and soon-to-be-renovated Mid-Manhattan libraries, “books create the look and feel for the spaces. So they’re not only part of the design, they are a key part.”
- The Phone Is Smart, but Where’s the Big Idea? is an op-ed by Timothy Egan, of the NY Times. In it, Mr. Egan marks the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone in an unconventional way. He celebrates a 15th century “handmade machine” that he says “changed the world more than any other invention.” Mr. Egan is talking about the Gutenberg’s printing press. “Sure,” he admits, that the iPhone “by putting the world’s recorded knowledge in the palm of a hand” has “revolutionized work, dining, travel and socializing.” But Mr. Egan says even more can be said for the printing press. He recounts how moveable type allowed average people to challenge the monopoly that clerics had on scripture and that kings and tyrants had on nations noting that “it’s hard to imagine the French or American revolutions” without “those enlightened voices” enabled by the printing press.
- Trends in Digital Preservation Capacity and Practice: Results from the 2nd Bi-annual National Digital Stewardship Alliance Storage Survey. The National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) storage survey is now available in the July/Aug issue of D-Lib Magazine. It provides “a rare opportunity to examine the practices of most major US memory institutions. The repeated, longitudinal design of the NDSA storage surveys offer a rare opportunity to more reliably detect trends within and among preservation institutions rather than the typical surveys of digital preservation, which are based on one-time measures and convenience (Internet-based) samples. The survey was conducted in 2011 and in 2013…”
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.