Monthly Archives: June 2013

Week in Review – 28 June 2013

Draft 2012-14 Program Review is Available

A final draft of our 2012-14 Program Review is available today. I ask staff to review and reply with additions, comments, corrections, etc. This year has been a memorable one in many ways and while our program and work was significantly altered this year by external factors, we have succeeded in advancing our mission in many ways. Thank you to each and every one of our team for contributing toward this effort.

The Program Review is slightly changed from last year. Here are the main sections it contains:

  • Overview Essay discussing the challenge of working and planning in an uncertain time.
  • Library Mission, Vision, and Goals
  • Brief program notes from the past year
  • A new “By the Numbers” section which pulls together some of our metric data that we gathered this year.
  • A review of our 2012-13 objectives with the status and a report on each.
  • A slightly refreshed Strategic Awareness and Vision graph
  • Peer comparison data (unchanged from last year as new data is reported every two years).
  • Cadet Views on Library Service with a few comments and input we received.
  • A look at our 2013-14 objectives.

This document has been scrubbed over, but the more eyes that review it and provide comment, the better it will be. We will publish this in final form next Friday (5 July). Please send along any items by 9:00a next Friday.


I want to extend a personal congratulations and well wishes to Alan Aimone and Larry Byrne who complete today significant and distinguished careers of 43 and 32 years respectively. Their commitment to service and the mission of providing library service to our cadets, faculty, and staff is very much appreciated. We wish them the best in the next chapters of their lives.

A New Website Launched

On any other week, this would be the top headline … but we are very pleased to have launched our new SharePoint-based website this past Wednesday. While not feature-complete, we believe this will begin to provide a more unified and user-friendly experience as we continue to migrate our full suite of online services to a fresh look and design. As with any change, we know there will be some bumps and perhaps a bruise or two along the way. We will be continuing to iterate and adjust things appropriately. Special thanks to our design team Christine Bassett, Suzanne Christoff, Celeste Evans, Heather Goyette, Karen Shea, and our web guru Justin Kovalcik for all their good work.

Furlough / Service Changes

With the final notice of impending staff furloughs, we will adjust our services and eventually our service hours beginning 8 July through the end of the current fiscal year (30 September). We will publish information regarding our suspension of services to the general public and amended service hours to our website soon. Additional information on closures around West Point has been circulated and next week’s issue of the Pointer View will contain more details of how the furlough will affect operations.

We are required to report all furlough days to the Dean’s Office, so please coordinate with your supervisor to make sure that any changes from our initial plan are reported and adjusted accordingly.

New Library Technician in Systems

This coming Monday, Ms. Tamara Englund will start in her position as Library Technician in Systems. She will be a great addition to the team and we look forward to bringing her onboard. Christine has coordinated an opportunity to say hello to her next Tuesday from 1145-1245 in the staff lunchroom.

New Gift Policy and Procedure Launches

Effective Monday, 1 July we will enact our new gift policy and associated handling procedures as published in draft form earlier (and available on our website). All gifts or inquiries regarding gifts should be referred to the website, or to the administrative offices. Please review the policy and procedure and ask any questions you may have.

Room Reservations Coordinated Through Administrative Offices

Effective Monday, 1July all requests for room reservations in the library will be routed through the administrative offices. Pam Long will be the primary POC for coordinating this. We are working to build a new online workflow for reservations for all Jefferson Hall facilities which will eventually be the only way to request rooms.

Official Library Hours

With the launch of the new website, our hours calendar published via SharePoint is now the official calendar for library hours and operations. Per new procedures, we will publish tentative hours for Jefferson Hall up to 18 months in advance, however we will also finalize those hours approximately three months in advance (hours are now final through 31 October … all others remain tentative). We are generally being conservative with hours and we may offer more hours of service than we post. We do not want to offer fewer hours than we commit to on our website. As hours are approved, notice will be made on the blog for all staff.

New Professional Engagement Team Forming

Our previous social team is reforming with a slightly broader mission and focus. This group will have coordinating responsibilities for our summer and holiday gatherings, our internal professional development series started this year, and supporting responsibilities for events around retirements, births, weddings, funerals, new employee arrivals, etc. Current members are from across library divisions, Karen Shea (ASD), Laura Mosher (IGD), Pam Long (ADM/SMD), Elaine McConnell (SC&AD), and Dawn Crumpler (MPD).

IT Strategy Update

This past Monday, the IT Strategy Committee presented a year-end brief to BG Trainor and COL Stafford. The final memo of the team will be added as an addendum to the USMA Strategic Plan and the committee will now shift to coordinating with IETD to operationalize the priorities set by the planning process this year.

Archives Leadership Institute

Last week I had the opportunity to participate as a guest faculty member at the Archives Leadership Institute held at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa (my old hometown). This event brings together a cohort of 25 up-and-coming leaders from across the archival profession for a series of intensive sessions on topics like strategic visioning, planning, team building, project management, advocacy, digital records management, and other topics. It was a great chance to meet some new people from government, higher education, and corporate archives and talk about the future of libraries, archives, and our profession.

Week in Review Hiatus

This weekly update will be published sporadically through June and July. The next update will be published July 5th and will contain the final version of our 2012-14 Program Review. The next update will then be August 2nd. I plan to look at content/format and make some revisions potentially for fall. I will be seeking some feedback on that later this summer.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
28 June 2013
 R-Day Rehearsal Week in Review 0700-1630
29 June 2013
30 June 2013
1 July 2013
R-Day 0700-1630
2 July 2013
COL Raftery Introductory Brief 0700-1630
3 July 2013
Dean’s Staff Meeting 0700-1630
4 July 2013
 Independence Day Holiday CLOSED
5 July 2013
 Week in  Review 0700-1630

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

Access Services
Items Charged Out 282 344 168 191
Gate Count 862 1,185 548 334
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 0 0
Significant Events Hosted 1 1 1 2
Events/Meetings Attended 15 16 11 14
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 17 7 6 0
Library Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Attending Sessions 0 0 0 0
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 22 55 83 45
Items Added – Digital 0 0 1,634 0
Items Added – GovDocs 126 86 152 74
Items Added – Other 0 26 17 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 61 117 82 114
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 41 34 40 38
Research Visits < 1 hour 3 4 1 1
Research Visits < 1 day 14 2 1 0
Research Visits > 1 day 0 1 1 2
Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Taught 0 0 0 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 823 859 850 791
LibGuides Visits 241 238 253 244
Digital Collections Visits 196 224 179 204
Facebook Visits 0 5 8 10
Public Printer Prints 0 0 585 3
Public Printer Copies 0 24 16 6
Public Printer Scans 13 35 24 436

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “Schools frequently acquire digital devices without discrete learning goals and ultimately use these devices in ways that fail to adequately serve students, schools, or taxpayers,” wrote Ulrich Boser, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the author of the report.” – Study Gauges Value of Technology in Schools –
  • “Textbook costs to students at higher education institutions are rising 6% per year on average, and have risen 82% over the last decade …” – United States Government Accountability Office
  • “There’s no denying it, the numbers speak for themselves. Five million people — that’s one in every 50 American adults — have clearance,” Goitein said. “It’s very pervasive. Over-classification results in over-clearance, essentially: Too many people needing clearance for jobs that are relatively low-level and non-sensitive in nature.” – ‘Top secret’ is the new ‘secret’ – Leigh Munsil –
  • “Nowadays in the digital world you can hardly own anything anymore. If you put things in the cloud, someone, somewhere might disappear it and it’s gone forever. When we grew up, ownership was what made America different than Russia.” – Steve Wozniak, lamenting the loss of first sale rights, as well as privacy, in Woz: This is not my America | Technically Incorrect – CNET News
  • “As hybrids, they defy easy categorization and threaten to upset the tidy categories we have for judging who is and is not college-educated. Like monsters, MOOCs threaten to disrupt our social world and bring chaos in their wake.” – Why We Fear MOOCs – The Conversation – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “I just wish that we could talk about books as if they are for use, not as symbols of enduring knowledge that must be preserved against the ravages of digital barbarians or as emblems of obdurate and blinkered resistance to inevitable change.” – Throwing the Books at Each Other | Inside Higher Ed
  • “Some 74 percent of professors aged 49-67 plan to delay retirement past age 65 or never retire at all, according to a new Fidelity Investments study of higher education faculty. While 69 percent of those surveyed cited financial concerns, an even higher percentage of professors said love of their careers factored into their decision.” – Data suggest baby boomer faculty are putting off retirement | Inside Higher Ed
  • “Email is the main cause of information overload at work today. It prevents us from being able to make good decisions and tackle important tasks according to priority.” – Can Activity Streams Save Us From Information Overload? | Fast Company | Business Innovation
  • “The deal was big news across the web. Amazon, pundits said, had stepped up its effort to challenge old-school giants like IBM in an area the old guard had long dominated federal contracting. The chorus of voices swelled Friday when the General Accounting Office responded to IBM’s protest with a ruling that said the CIA chose Amazon over Big Blue due to a “superior technical solution.” But Amazon’s CIA contract is important for far bigger reasons, and marks a much bigger shift than most people realize. You see, the GAO ruling on the matter reveals that the contract involves Amazon building cloud services inside CIA data centers. “The contractor generally was to provide a copy of its existing public cloud (modified where necessary) to be installed on government premises,” the GAO ruling explains. That may seem like a small thing, but in the world of cloud computing, it’s a seismic event.” – Amazon’s Invasion of the CIA Is a Seismic Shift in Cloud Computing | Wired Enterprise |
  • “According to a new report on the state of US education from the Council on Foreign Relations, Americans going into the labor force today are less educated than those retiring from it. This phenomenon is unique among developed countries. For 55- to 64-year-olds, the US has the highest percentage of high-school graduates and the third-highest percentage of college graduates; in people aged 25 to 34, the country is 10th and 13th respectively.” – People joining the US workforce today are less educated than those leaving it – Quartz
  • “The MLIS being a prerequisite for becoming a librarian should also be reconsidered. First, this undermines all of the great works of professionals who lack this degree. Second, it creates the problem of less engaged students seeking to garner recognition for work they have already done. Third, it creates economic barriers for entry into our profession. I find the idea of a degree mill reprehensible as a librarian, as a former student, and as a moral person. If the MLIS value proposition is that we exclude all but the initiated then we are fast approaching our deserved demise. I do not hold this opinion, but I recognize that many do, and there are valid reasons for this viewpoint.” – Evaluating the MLIS Degree | Hack Library School
  • “Print is in a long, slow decline that feels like a death spiral, but isn’t quite so. For now, at least, the end of print is a long way off, even if kids these days can’t figure out how to turn the page.” – The Death of Print Has Been Greatly Exaggerated – Matthew O’Brien – The Atlantic
  • “Let us not kid ourselves,” the letter said, “administrators at C.S.U. are beginning a process of replacing faculty with cheap online education.” – Online Classes Fuel a Campus Debate –
  • “Reading is one of the few distinctively human activities that set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. As many scholars have noted, and Paul too mentions in her piece, reading, unlike spoken language, does not come naturally to human beings. It must be taught. Because it goes beyond mere biology, there is something profoundly spiritual — however one understands that word — about the human ability, and impulse, to read. In fact, even the various senses in which we use the word captures this: to “read” means not only to decipher a given and learned set of symbols in a mechanistic way, but it also suggests that very human act of finding meaning, of “interpreting” in the sense of “reading” a person or situation. To read in this sense might be considered one of the most spiritual of all human activities.” – How Reading Makes Us More Human – Karen Swallow Prior – The Atlantic
  • “You remember 1/3 of what you read, 1/2 of what people tell you, but 100% of what you feel.” – The Unwritten Rules of Management
  • “Well, when you’re hiring for a small, specialized unit, the metrics and variables that will determine the person’s success are clearer and more finite. As in basketball, perhaps it’s easier to isolate the skills that will determine a star at the next level. But Google isn’t like basketball. It’s not a bunch of sales people running “iso” plays against their clients. It’s a huge, complex organization where many employees are asked to juggle multiple accounts and manage busy and complicated relationships with other companies and colleagues. It’s more like football, where the metrics of future success are considerably murkier and evidence of true talent might not emerge until the employee is on the right team.” – Why Is It So Hard to Hire Great People? – Derek Thompson – The Atlantic
  • “Writing well used to be a fundamental principle of the humanities, as essential as the knowledge of mathematics and statistics in the sciences. But writing well isn’t merely a utilitarian skill. It is about developing a rational grace and energy in your conversation with the world around you.” – The Decline and Fall of the English Major –
  • “We need a greater awareness of what we are losing in overprivileging digital tools, and a better balance of digital practices and traditional ones. We must preserve the slower, more thoughtful approach to reading and writing. Part of our mission as teachers is to counteract the preferences that students bring with them and to help them adopt those that enable them not just to gather and scan information efficiently, but also to pursue their interests more purposefully—to encourage them to think and write more deeply, more reflectively, and more creatively. Only when that happens will education be truly transformative.” – Unintentional Knowledge – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “we are depriving future generations of the memory of us… Though we now reveal so much more – teenagers especially – we leave behind so much less. Texts, tweets and Facebook updates exist in abundance, but they rarely provide the depth of a letter. And few would bet on them surviving 70-odd years… The point is that a fundamental aspect of human life – memory – is being altered by the digital revolution, and it is far from the only one. I confess I long avoided bowing to such a conclusion. In the 1990s, I was among those who wanted to believe the internet represented a shift in scale or form, rather than in kind: emails would be the same as letters, only faster. But increasingly, it seems, that was to underestimate the nature of the change…” – From memory to sexuality, the digital age is changing us completely | Jonathan Freedland | Comment is free | The Guardian

Library’s new home on the web!

The migration from to has been deployed!

Along with increased content, there are also many new features the new site will offer users.

Here are a few.

  • “Get Help” tab on every screen
  • “Today’s Hours” on main screen with link to calendar view
  • increased social network tools
  • reorganization of links and navigation
  • integration of tools like LibAnswers
  • and many more …

Be sure to check it out and update your bookmarks!

Week in Review – 7 June 2013

Draft Website Review

At our All Staff Meeting this week we took a look at a new version of our website built in SharePoint that we should have rolled out in the very near future. The direct link to the site was made available earlier to staff via a previous blog entry. We are hopeful that this addresses some of the known usability issues with the current website and look forward to having it be on a more stable infrastructure. We are seeking comments and suggestions. Please review the site and send them along.

As noted in the meeting, we are pushing this out a little earlier than we would ideally like, driven primarily by the instability of our current site. As a result, there will continue to be many changes coming to the main website as well as all the related websites that support it. Among those changes to expect:

  • Discovery – the launch of the new discovery tool will result in another look at how we position that service across all of our services.
  • We will carry over a complementary version of the new design to other sites. This may vary slightly from site to site, but will try to unify the different properties in the best way possible.
  • We expect some additional enhanced interactivity (like the appointment forms discussed in our meeting). We also are planning a new online tool for making room reservations.
  • We will be transitioning completely to the new blog (and retiring the internal SharePoint version). That will coincide with a fresh look at our social media channels and how we use those.

As discussed at the meeting, perhaps one of the most important changes we need to make in our thinking about the website is that it is ever really complete and launched. From here on out, we will consider it to be a living entity that will undergo continual care and adjustment. We will obviously use a light touch when it comes to significant changes that affect how users find materials on our site. However, users are also increasingly getting used to a world where web services change periodically. On a macro level I think this is part of our slow and winding transition from a print-focused mindset (where information was fixed on a page) to a digital-focused one where has the ability to continually change and grow.

SHARP Stand Down Day

Thank you to everyone for participating in the stand down this week. As noted at our staff meeting, I will be convening some small conversations later this month as a follow-up. I will be preparing a summary response for the Dean and other Academy leadership after those conversations.

Week in Review Hiatus

This weekly update will be published sporadically through June and July. The next update will be published June 28th and will contain the draft version of our 2012-14 Program Review. The next update will then be August 2nd. I plan to look at content/format and make some revisions potentially for fall. I will be seeking some feedback on that later this summer.

USMA Library Events

The events below will likely affect USMA Library and Jefferson Hall operations in the coming week.

Date USMA O/DEAN USMA Library Jefferson Hall Hours
7 June 2013
Week in Review Alumni Golf Event 0700-1630
8 June 2013
9 June 2013
10 June 2013
 ConnectNY Annual Meeting CLOSED
11 June 2013
ConnectNY Annual Meeting 0700-2100
12 June 2013
Dean’s Staff Meeting  Division Heads 0700-2100
13 June 2013
14 June 2013
Army Birthday / STAP Graduation 0700-1630

USMA Library Metrics

USMA Library tracks a number of key statistics to measure service levels. These are their stories …

Access Services
Items Charged Out 418 257 229 282
Gate Count 5,889 3,236 2,039 862
Administrative Services
DV Tours 0 0 1 0
Significant Events Hosted 2 1 2 1
Events/Meetings Attended 30 14 21 15
Information Gateway
Reference Questions 21 27 26 17
Library Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Attending Sessions 0 0 0 0
Materials Processing
Items Added – Books 130 104 76 22
Items Added – Digital 2,027 726 2 0
Items Added – GovDocs 69 86 54 126
Items Added – Other 23 0 0 0
Continuing Resource Check-Ins 204 74 129 61
Special Collections & Archives
Reference Inquiries 27 35 41 41
Research Visits < 1 hour 2 15 58 3
Research Visits < 1 day 10 5 11 14
Research Visits > 1 day 0 2 0 0
Instruction Sessions 0 0 0 0
Cadets Taught 0 0 0 0
Systems Management
Library Home Page Visits 969 638 841 823
LibGuides Visits 453 268 279 241
Digital Collections Visits 233 2 19 196
Facebook Visits 18 N/A 16 0
Public Printer Prints 0 21 0 0
Public Printer Copies 1 1 16 0
Public Printer Scans 56 30 472 13

USMA Library Radar

Brief status updates on current and planned library initiatives. ★ indicates a 2012-13 objective.

Access Services
★ Communication Channels Beta Blog expanding Assigned 31-Mar-13
★ JH 2nd Floor Review Preparing next steps Active 30-Apr-13
ALSC Metrics Design Programming being done by Army Waiting 01-Feb-13
JH Security System Design Paused 31-May-13
Guide to Event Planning Reworking into digital product Assigned 31-May-13
★ New Employee On-Boarding Next step is review Assigned 31-May-13
Windowshade Repair Haig repair partially complete Waiting 31-May-13
Library Parking Space Awaiting DES Waiting 31-May-13
★ Gift SOP Final language complete Active 31-May-13
★ USMPS On hold Assigned 31-May-13
★ Gift / Needs Statements Planned 31-May-13
ConnectNY Annual Meeting Final planning underway Active 10-Jun-13
★ Mobile Infrastructure Waiting for Airwatch system Waiting 31-Aug-13
Fires of Hate Exhibit Dates selected for Apr-Jun 2014 Planned 15-Jan-14
Information Gateway
★ Evening Skills Clinics Spring slate underway Assigned 31-May-13
★ LibGuide Review Work underway Assigned 31-May-13
★ Embedded Liaisons Department work underway Assigned 31-May-13
IGD GS-09/11 Recruitment Internal announcement posted Waiting 31-May-13
★ Academic Support Statements Statement work underway Assigned 31-Jul-13
Materials Processing
★ Collection Inventory SOP Planned 28-Feb-13
★ Gov Docs Review Assigned 30-Apr-13
Withdrawal Policy Planned 31-May-13
★ CTC Digital Collections On hold pending repository Waiting 31-May-13
MPD GS-11 Recruitment Awaiting CPAC Action Waiting 31-May-13
MPD GS-11 Recruitment Hiring freeze Waiting 31-May-13
Special Collections and Archives
★ Ring Case Biographies Initial planning underway Assigned 31-May-13
★ WP Authors Reception Planning for fall Assigned 31-May-13
★ Fee-For-Service Planned 31-May-13
★ Library History Exhibit Planned 31-May-13
SC&AD GS-06 Recruitment Hiring freeze Assigned 31-May-13
Bartlett Hall Move Re-awaiting funding Assigned 30-Jun-13
Systems Management
★ Discovery Layer Contract let Assigned 01-Mar-13
SMD GS-06 Recruitment Offer extended Waiting 01-Mar-13
★ Institutional Repository Planned 30-Apr-13
★ Security System Review Planned 30-Jun-13
★ Public Website Redesign Redesign underway Active 30-Jun-13

Food for Thought

A few quotations from the past week about libraries, information, technology, and the future

  • “Data is the new Oil. Data is just like crude. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used.” – Social Media as a Stored Value Currency
  • “TV ratings have dropped by 50 percent over the last decade. Goldman Sachs recently called the decline “the sharpest pace on record.” The firm found that ratings in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic – the key group targeted by advertisers – fell by 17 percent last winter compared with the winter before.” – As TV Falls Apart, Tumblr And Twitter Aim To Pick Up The Pieces | TechCrunch
  • “The main problem is none of the best features are standardized yet and the format is likely to never be fully completed. For example, dictionaries are still being developed and are not fully integrated. This means if you want to have patrons look up words in English, French, or a myriad of other languages, they have to code it themselves. We heard that dictionaries won’t even be functional until the end of the year. Also, you currently can’t share your notes, highlights, or annotations with other users. An independent body within the W3c is working on this issue, but there is no estimated delivery date. If you want to restrict your users to only access your content in a specific market, geolocation is also not currently available. The BBC, Microsoft, Google, and many other companies are currently lobbying for this structure to protect their content and make sure domestic publishing rights are maintained.” – EPUB3 Still Not Ready for the Prime Time | Good E-Reader – eBooks, Publishing and Comic News
  • “Whatever the reason, ideas about youthful independence are embedded in the system Sweden devised to pay for higher education. For example, whereas in the US parents are expected to help pay for the their children’s college education, in Sweden parental income levels are just not part of the equation. Students are viewed as adults, responsible for their own finances. As a result “levels of student support are based on students’ own income, rather than that of their parents,” wrote analysts in a white paper on the system. Compare that to countries like Germany, where any aid from the state agency that doles it out, known as BAföG, is premised on parental income. In the US it’s the same deal. In Sweden, the entire system is aimed at severing the financial link between parents and young adults. “The main point is to take away the family’s situation,” said Torbjörn Lindqvist, an analyst at the Swedish Higher Education Authority in Stockholm. “And look at the student as a grown up standing on his own feet.” – College in Sweden is free but students still have a ton of debt. How can that be? – Quartz
  • “The most immediately noticeable thing about the list is how Hunger Games-heavy it is. Nineteen of the top 25 most-highlighted passages are written by Suzanne Collins, who is not exactly known for a glittering prose style. That breakdown would suggest that Americans are mostly obsessed with teenagers and dystopias, which, while not entirely untrue, is also useful reminder that this is a numbers game. Bestsellers will naturally have the greatest number of underlines, and there are certain kinds of bestsellers that are more likely to be read digitally. These include books aimed at teenagers that a massive number of adults have embraced (potentially embarrassing), books in the public domain (free), and self-help books (potentially embarrassing). Taken together, they suggest that your average Kindle reader is a creature caught in permanent adolescence, but yearning to improve. Oh, and he’s cheap.” – Kindle’s most-highlighted passages and the soul of the American reader | New Republic
  • “While no one would disagree that libraries should promote literacy, it’s hard to deny that the tech revolution is changing both how people consume books and the ways libraries present their offerings to parents and children: in some libraries, a student can download an ebook online, use a phone app to locate reference material, make stuff in designated “maker spaces,” take DIY classes, or have a meeting at a community multi-use space. The Nashville library is currently using a MacArthur grant to create a Learning Lab where teens will be able to record music, write stories and more – a free space filled with equipment, as Oliver put it, “to create content, not just consume it.”” – In the Digital Age, What Becomes of the Library? | MindShift
  • “Users will hate DRM because it will be a hassle, it will depress sales, in a few years publishers will begin to have technological and public relations headaches associated with maintaining it, and some time around 2018 or so they will realize (as some of their more enlightened peers already do) that the best solution is to keep it off everything. It would be nice if we could just save everyone the trouble and fast forward to the happy ending right now.” – DRM for e-books: Repeating history, not learning from it | Corrente
  • “Yet, far from a radical innovation, MOOCs are simply the natural extension of trends that have been at the heart of the modern university for decades. Defenders of the status quo are reminiscent of Casablanca’s Captain Renault, who is “shocked, shocked” to discover an activity in which he himself partook. In April, the philosophy department at San Jose State University published an open letter bashing the use of Michael Sandel’s MOOC, “Justice.” Those professors compared the situation to “something out of a dystopian novel.” (“Departments across the country possess unique specializations and character, and should stay that way,” they wrote.) Such rhetoric notwithstanding, faculties have been deeply invested in the logic leading to the rise of MOOCs, and are fundamentally ill-prepared to mount a serious intellectual argument against them.” – We’re All to Blame for MOOCs – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education
  • “When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, “taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” – Justices Allow DNA Collection After an Arrest –
  • “Every time you fill a prescription at a drug store like Walgreens, the pharmacy keeps a record of the transaction, noting information such as your name, the drug, the dosage, and the issuing doctor. It’s a routine bit of bookkeeping, and for a long time it raised few eyebrows. Then a firm called IMS Health starting buying up the data. Mining pharmacy records, the company assembled profiles of hundreds of thousands of American doctors and millions of individual patients, with names and other identifying details encrypted. IMS Health turned around and sold access to those files to pharmaceutical companies, making it easier for the firms to target (and reward) the physicians most likely to prescribe expensive, brand-name drugs.” – How Corporations Hijacked the First Amendment to Evade Regulation | New Republic
  • “Everywhere I turned I came across industry members who are way too focused on current channels and products. They’re happy that 20-30% of their revenues are coming from “digital”; of course, by “digital” they mean quick-and-dirty print-to-e conversions, print-under-glass, or any one of a number of other descriptions of today’s ebook marketplace. Many of them will tell you privately that “the ebook revolution” was overblown, they’ve wasted way too many resources on speculative e-projects and now see no reason to throw more good money after bad on this front. The Digital Discovery Zone was a quaint little area set off by green carpeting and featuring about a dozen of the usual suspects, many of which are sponsors of the various industry conferences. It felt like walking through a petting zoo at your local state fair. I half expected someone to say, “wash your hands if you touch one of those animals, honey, you don’t want to spread any germs.” Isn’t it amazing that we still separate the “digital” players from the rest of the exhibitors at a major trade show?” – Joe Wikert’s Digital Content Strategies: Why BEA was like a live performance of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”
  • “As part of this study, several hundred students who did not have home computers were given computers to see if the devices would have any impact, positive or negative, on their academic performance. The researchers found that this action didn’t have any positive effects on a whole host of educational outcomes, including grades, standardized test scores, credits earned, and attendance.” – Why Computers Alone Won’t Move the Needle | MindShift
  • “Two decades ago, if you sat at a dinner party next to someone with a Ph.D., chances were, those letters made an impact. You’d try to sound your smartest, asking about the person’s field of study, nodding sagely at the Coles Notes version he saved for such occasions. By dessert, you might have run out of $5 words, but you’d have done your best to keep up—a show of respect due to someone with a decade of university education. These days, a doctorate is as likely to inspire pity as veneration. Universities are cutting back on tenure-track jobs. The federal government is laying off scientists. The economy, meanwhile, is skewing ever harder toward resource extraction, where the demand for highly specialized knowledge is limited. This confluence of forces is starting to show in the numbers: At last count, Ph.D. grads were more likely to be unemployed than master’s degree holders, while those with jobs enjoyed a median income only eight per cent higher than their master’s counterparts, at $65,000 per year. A good many of those were working in less-than-promising circumstances. One in three doctorate holders have jobs that didn’t require a Ph.D., while a 2007 survey of Ph.D.s working at Canadian universities found that only 12 per cent of those under the age of 35 held tenure or tenure-track positions, compared to 35 per cent in 1981.” – Are Ph.D.s an academic dead zone? – Life –
  • “Our wealthy and sophisticated kids go to schools where books are still taken seriously (and sometimes very seriously), if only as the only way to become academically accomplished enough to be admitted to an elite college. Meanwhile, in ordinary or worse public schools—especially in our secondary schools—“real” books have been slowly disappearing. And the new Common Core Standards seem to be somewhat about taking out what books are left. Fiction is to be mostly replaced by informational nonfiction, and apparently even To Kill a Mockingbird may not have much of an educational future.” – Marriage and Reading as Elite Customs | Rightly Understood | Big Think