- Breaking the barriers of time and space: the dawning of the great age of librarians.
- The Great Age of Librarians
- Achieving the "Golden Age of Librarians" -- An Ambitious Project of Deep Redefinition
- Nobody cares about the library: How digital technology makes the library invisible (and visible) to scholars
- Snooki, Whale Sperm, and Google: The Unfortunate Extinction Of Librarians When They Are Needed Most
- Potential Crisis May Be Brewing in Preservation of E-Journals
- Privacy?? Forgetaboutit!!
- Notes from the AE's desk (about being an editor at a journal)
- Computers in classrooms don't guarantee better education: report
- Doubts of my students: Expert teaching is no better than good-enough teaching
- An editorial board is not a scholarly community
- Outreach or papers: where should postdocs' priorities lie?
- A Guide to Publishers in the Library Ebook Market
- Mass Market Paperback Sales Down Nearly 41% in December
- Why I'm Breaking the Amazon Habit...And Why You Should Too
- Why should the price of ebooks . . . be on the floor?
Archive for: February, 2012
- e-Books: Why Bother
- Truly moving literature: Enhanced eBooks
- Science Finds a Better Way to Teach Science
- The Future of Science Publishing
- Introducing Download the Universe: A new science ebook review
- Canadian universities sign bone-stupid copyright deal with collecting society: emailing a link is the same as making a photocopy, faculty email to be surveilled
- Culture is an echo chamber
- California Dreaming (comment on value of libraries in crossing digital divide)
- Heavy Hangs The Bandwidth That Torrents The Crown
- The Open Access Irony Awards: Naming and shaming them
- Libraries and publishers don't have symmetrical interest in a conversation
- The state of the eBook, early 2012
- Github for science? Shouldn't we perhaps build TCP/IP first?
- Information Literacy in a World That's Too Big to Know
- Publishers hate you: readers' notes as a "derivative work"
- The Tools They Are a Changin': The Ins and Outs of TOC NYC
- What's the Real Value of a Scholarly Publication? Part I
- Amazon Pulls Thousands of E-Books in Dispute
- Why Amazon's Kindle Battle With IPG Matters
The actual content of the post I'm highlighting isn't really all that amusing. It's actually quite pertinent in a real-world context.
But I really love how they've taken actually useful information that might be a bit dry and businessy and using a Star Wars / pop-cultural reference made it into something a little easier to wade through. A spoonful of sugar and all that.
Anyways, here's one of the five from: Five Leadership Mistakes Of The Galactic Empire:
Mistake #1: Building an organization around particular people, rather than institutions.
Perhaps the biggest mistake of the Galactic Empire made is its singular focus on the preservation of power for the Emperor and a few of his chosen lackeys. There is a constant through line we see starting with A New Hope and running through to the end of the Return of the Jedi of the Emperor consolidating more and more power into his own hands and that of his right-hand man, Darth Vader. In A New Hope, the Galactic Senate is disbanded in favor of regional governors hand-selected by the Emperor. By the time Return of the Jedi rolls around, the Emperor's only advisor is Darth Vader, and his distrust in his organization is so complete that his only plan for succession is a desperate attempt to poach Luke Skywalker from the Rebel Alliance and get him to join his organization. Anytime your future plans depend on getting a rising star from a rival organization to join your team, you know that you have some serious institutional issues.
As the events of the movie make clear, the deaths of the Emperor and Darth Vader pretty much eliminated any opportunity for succession. A galaxy-wide organization was defeated simply by taking out two key individuals. Despite his decades of scheming, Palpatine's organization barely lasted a day after he was gone.
Key Takeaway: Your organization needs to be structured so that talent is being developed on all levels of the organization, in order to ensure smooth functioning and ensure that it's easy for people to rise in the organization in the event that key individuals leave. Responsibility should be distributed on several fronts, so that chaos doesn't ensue if one person can't be reached. Realistic succession plans are vital to developing an enduring organization.
The Bottom Line: Ultimately, the Galactic Empire failed as an enduring organization because of incredibly flawed leadership at the very top. By building an organizational culture based on fear, lack of independence, and an unwillingness to adapt to changing circumstances, the Emperor set the stage for his own inevitable failure.
It's all good, so go on over and read the whole thing.
Around the Web: Even more academically adrift, The case for publically owned Internet service and more
- 'Academically Adrift': The News Gets Worse and Worse
- The Case for Publicly Owned Internet Service: Susan P. Crawford
- On the 10th Anniversary of the Budapest Declaration
- By one benchmark at least, we are probably halfway through the (r)evolution
- Will Business Step Up or Step Out?
- Attendance, Retention, and College Success
- How to Enjoy a Sabbatical
- TOC 2012: LeVar Burton, Libraries and The Bookstore of the Future
- RLUK library trends
- Why the book and the Internet will merge
- Libraries Receiving a Shrinking Piece of the University Pie
- Joining the Movement: A Call to Action
- Google Director Explains How To Avoid 'The Innovator's Nightmare'
- Ebooks and Libraries Don't Mix
- An academic librarian without a library
- The Future of the Bookstore, the Bookstore of the Future
- As ebook lending skyrockets, libraries and publishers look for a Canadian-made licensing solution
- A Study of Open Access Journals Using Article Processing Charges
A little while back the Cost of Knowledge site started up a boycott pledge list in response to mathematician Timothy Gowers' pledge to stop contributing to Elsevier's operations by ceasing writing, reviewing and editing for them.
Here is the call to action:
Academics have protested against Elsevier's business practices for years with little effect. These are some of their objections:
- They charge exorbitantly high prices for subscriptions to individual journals.
- In the light of these high prices, the only realistic option for many libraries is to agree to buy very large "bundles", which will include many journals that those libraries do not actually want. Elsevier thus makes huge profits by exploiting the fact that some of their journals are essential.
- They support measures such as SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act, that aim to restrict the free exchange of information.
The key to all these issues is the right of authors to achieve easily-accessible distribution of their work. If you would like to declare publicly that you will not support any Elsevier journal unless they radically change how they operate, then you can do so by filling in your details on this page.
It then asks signatories to sign the pledge with their name, affiliation and discipline and pledge not to publish, referee or do editorial work for Elsevier.
I have done so. In fact, I've recently declined an opportunity to publish in an Elsevier professional newsletter in the library field and cited the Research Works Act in my refusal.
I would ask all the librarians and library/information science people reading this to consider adding their names to the boycott as well.
I've hesitated to ask this so directly before since there was no way for librarians and other library people to sign the pledge explicitly stating their affiliation with libraries and information science as a subject. We either had to put "Other" or chose perhaps the discipline from our non-library degrees.
Fortunately, the organizers of The Cost of Knowledge have recently added Library and Information Sciences to the list of subjects. They've also set it up so that if you signed up previously, you can update your subject just by re-signing with the same email address.
Librarians and other library/information science people can now directly support the boycott as it pertains to our own professional literature. By our participation, we can also clearly state that we support faculty, researcher and other scholars in their quest to make their professional and scholarly literature less the subject of excessive commercial avarice.
Most importantly, we can send a message that we are united, that we stand together.
I could make this a much longer post, explaining my rationale for singling out Elsevier, explaining the goals of the boycott and various other points.
For that, I'll point you to:
- Why Elsevier? by The Library Loon
- Joining the Movement: A Call to Action by Barbara Fister
- Dear Elsevier Employees, With Love, From @FakeElsevier: An Open Letter.
And some of my own thoughts along similar lines:
Given all the fuss and bother going on in the library world these last few days about ebooks, I thought this one would be a pretty fine choice to highlight today.
I just love me some Cracked!
- You Can't Hide a Gun in a Kindle
- You Need Physical Books for Physical Tasks
- No More Flipbooks and Mustaches in Textbooks
- It May Change the Perception of the Necronomicon and Other Mystical Books
- Book Burnings Will Have Less Visual Impact
- How Will People Open Secret Passageways?
Seriously, if you can't pull a cleverly titled book out of a bookcase to get it to swing open, what else are you going to do? You have to put an artifact in a slot or push a really obvious wooden carving every time? Boy, that is going to get old fast.
- You Can't Separate Bathroom Books from Outside Books
- Well, I let you find out for yourself...
- The Great Age of Librarians
- Amazon Will Destroy You
- Confessions of a Publisher: "We're in Amazon's Sights and They're Going to Kill Us"
- Mobile Sites vs. Apps: The Coming Strategy Shift
- Instructional Designers Wanted: No Experience Necessary
- Libraries and the Commodification of Culture
- Innovating the Library Way
- About the Emerging Battles Over Textbooks: Options from Apple to Open Initiatives
- fallacies of a market approach to public higher ed
- The perils and pleasures of online gaming for married life
- Scienceography: the study of how science is written
- An Experiment in Teaching Writing: A Look Inside the Sausage Factory
- Disruptive Innovation, encyclopedia chapter by Clayton Christensen
- At Its Core, Librarianship is a Helping Profession
- Thoughts on Ontario Higher Education parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 by Mike Ridley
We have here what is sometimes known as a wicked problem.
On the one side, communities would like to be able to pool the resources of their members to acquire digital content that may then be shared and consumed by everyone in that community.
On the other, content creators and publishers would like to maximize their revenue from the content they produce and distribute.
Libraries want to pay the least amount possible but still have the maximum rights to share it among their communities.
Publishers want to make sure every possible reading transaction is monetized, so as a result want to minimize the sharing rights of the people and organizations they sell their content to.
I don't know the answer to this question but I was hoping that the accumulated wisdom of the masses of my readers might have some good ideas and share them in the
What is the most fair library/publisher ebook business model or set of business models for mass market, non-academic books?
Some further reading, both posts by others that have inspired this post and some of my own previous ramblings:
- Publishers hate you. You should hate them back. (My main inspiration for this post.)
- We will measure our loss
- Libraries and the Commodification of Culture
- An ebook plan by Iris Jastram and Steve Lawson
- Penguin ebooks & The Research Works Act: Publishers gain, communities lose
- Around the Web: HarperCollins library ebook linkdump apocalypse (#hcod 'r us) (Updated!)
- Towards a library ebook business model that makes sense
- The eBook Users' Bill of Rights
- Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have 'Nothing to Hide'
- Reading and Believing
- Who really benefits from putting high-tech gadgets in classrooms?
- "if libraries did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them"
- Academia as Music Industry
- Wolfram Alpha Pro democratizes data analysis: an in-depth look at the $4.99 a month service
- Physical Sciences Case studies: information use and discovery
- New Media Consortia - Horizon Report - Ten Top Trends in Education
- Why Pay for Intro Textbooks?
- The Future of Taxpayer-Funded Research: Who Will Control Access to the Results?
- Tim Berners-Lee Takes the Stand to Keep the Web Free
- Social media sites about OA
- Teaching the ineffable
- We will measure our loss
- ALA, Authors Guild, 3M Weigh In on Penguin-OverDrive Dispute