Monday, January 09, 2012

MediaWeek (V5, N2): 1962 it was a very fine year, Daytona Textbook Migrations, Protecting the Franchise, Touch Technology + More.

More Intelligent Life on what was going on in 1962.  (They missed one important fact).
Even Khrushchev’s decision to allow the publication of Solzhenitsyn’s “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch” (November), to highlight the evils of Stalin’s labour camps, made little impression in the West. No one can have foreseen how Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” (September) would inspire the environmental movement. Nor did anyone spot the future impact of Anthony Burgess’s nihilist novella “A Clockwork Orange” (May): “clumsy...tawdry...aimless” – the Times. The author came to hate it too, but the film, made and then withdrawn by Stanley Kubrick, gave it a lasting resonance.
And even after the Canadian academic Marshall McLuhan began to be hailed as a visionary for understanding the significance of the electronic media, no one grasped the importance of the prediction in his 1962 book “The Gutenberg Galaxy”: “A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organisation, retrieve the individual’s encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.” Most of us would not hear the word “internet” for another three decades.

No one guessed that the first James Bond film, “Dr No” (October), would spawn 23 more, and counting. Roy Lichtenstein’s cartoon strips and Andy Warhol’s soup cans landed on the art scene (November), but left the establishment unimpressed: “like a joke without humour told over and over again”, said the New Yorker of the soup cans, “until it carries a hint of menace”. At least Warhol got some attention, which was more than could be said when Bob Dylan gave the first public performance of “Blowin’ in the Wind” at Gerde’s Folk City downtown in the West Village (April). Let alone when the Rolling Stones played their first gig, at the Marquee Club in London (July)

An ambitious eTextbook migration at Daytona State College is momentarily abandoned (INed)
Well, actually, it's more complicated than that. Daytona State has not abandoned its e-textbook initiative, but it has tempered its approach. And while Spiwak’s departure may have weakened the college’s enthusiasm for the transition to digital, a recently completed report on a yearlong pilot at Daytona State, comparing the satisfaction and success of students using all electronic texts with students using all print, has also complicated the picture.

The findings of the study, in which college officials collected data through surveys and focus groups over four semesters, suggest that making the transition to electronic content could pose challenges — especially if the college tried to force the transition by giving students and faculty no choice, as some for-profit institutions have done.

“Avoid top-down mandates,” the study’s authors wrote as their top recommendation. “Institutions that require all instructors to simultaneously go e-text might be courting disaster.”
The majority of the students in the study who used exclusively e-texts came away dissatisfied. While they appreciated that there was no possibility of losing or forgetting their textbooks when they could be simply summoned to a device, the students told officials that they found it fatiguing to read off a computer screen (the students used netbooks, rather than e-readers, due to the unavailability, at the time, of certain key texts on the Amazon Kindle).

There's a new bill before Congress to protect publishers interests in publishing government funded reseasrch.  From the AAP press release:
The Research Works Act will prohibit federal agencies from unauthorized free public dissemination of journal articles that report on research which, to some degree, has been federally-funded but is produced and published by private sector publishers receiving no such funding. It would also prevent non-government authors from being required to agree to such free distribution of these works. Additionally, it would preempt federal agencies’ planned funding, development and back-office administration of their own electronic repositories for such works, which would duplicate existing copyright-protected systems and unfairly compete with established university, society and commercial publishers.

Here is the bill sponsored by Rep's Issa and Maloney.

Fellow traveller John Dupuis (Confessions of a Science Librarian) has a round up of some of the commentary on the proposed bill and includes this comment:
This is a rather bald-faced attack on the open access movement, attempting to restrict all kinds of sharing mechanisms and open access publishing ventures. Institutional and disciplinary repositories and open access mandates seem particularly to be the targets. Essentially, it wants to give a free hand to the scholarly publishing establishment
From NPR: The Touchy Feely of Technology.  A look at how touch technology seen in tablets is helping to change several industries.  Here is an excerpt specific to education but the article is more expansive than this (NPR):
Now that the iPad does exist, people are finding a lot of practical applications for it. Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington County, Va., has a growing cache of iPads, about 100 for 600 students. The school uses its tablets for everything from writing to math to reading graphic novels. But NPR's Larry Abramson reports that in one classroom the iPad has been a real game changer.
Special education assistant Lesley McKeever uses an iPad to get her student, an affectionate autistic boy who can't speak, to learn to connect words with images by touching the right picture on the screen. Touch technology has been so helpful for students with autism that Arlington County provides enough iPads for every student in the special education classroom.
According to Apple, more than 2,300 school districts in the U.S. have iPad programs for students or teachers. But the benefits of having iPads in the classroom don't come free. Teachers say you have to invest time into the technology in order to get something out of it, which means much of the iPad's usefulness will depend on the applications both teachers and publishers discover as adoption grows.
 From Twitter:

Google Snaps Up 200+ IBM Patents, Including One for a 'Semantic Social Network' Mashable

Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg on the sale of Sterling Publishing business (WSJ)

Medical marijuana entrepreneur Christ asks justices for access to UM Law Library Not a headline you see often.

Education Department releases new data on academic libraries-Inside Higher Ed: Academic Libraries in Flux 

Noises Off: the play so funny it made people ill Guardian

Welcome to 2012!

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