Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yes, we have NO readings...no readings, at all


(Dis)Harmonic Convergence Update: Hear us Horton, "we are here".

I was going to take a bit of a break today, expecting a nasty coming week but........Recent comments by Max, safaa and the post at another anthro blog and anthropolgi, about Open Access and Anthropology have inspired me to, yet again, contextualize the reading/technology issues pinging around the blogs.

So, here goes...in the firm belief that I speak for a silent majority of college professors and contingent faculty at the "lesser" institutions. (I prefer the Lorax image here (I speak for the trees), not the Richard Nixon allusion). We have NO readings, no readings, at all.

We just got the SACS accreditation report on our libraries. They were found to be substandard and severely underfunded. No surprise to any of us faculty. Every year we get lists of journal with a request as to what we can cut, not add. Our institution pays NO money to subscribe to any journal listing service. No JStor and very few books, most dating to the 1960's. I loan students my own books, sometimes never to get them back. Honest.

To suggest that my students can "find articles" to post to a common wiki, ain't going to happen. I hope that they can discuss an issue on a specified set of readings that I provide. And I still maintain there is precious little on the internet that is useful for students of cultural anthropology (the archaeologists do much better, IMHO). It is so pleasing to find others who have already grappled with these issues and are seeking solutions. All the whos on the dust speck of my existence are screaming, "we are here, we are here, we are here". Give us some readings. Please.

(One reason I started blogging was to get comfortable with all the technology enough to begin posting my field interviews. The college won't provide individual web sites for us and I would love to make them available to my students. Toward that end, I explored voicethread, then wetpaint, and I decided to start simple with the blogging. I figure that I am actually privileged to not face the tenure decision and can give freely of my data. Thanks to Max for reminding me of the benefits of my cost/benefit life.)

Anyway, pass the discussion on and beat the drum for a freer approach to knowledge. We at the bottom thank you.

And could you all stop being so interesting, I have dust bunnies to chase, vegetables to buy, and aimless thoughts to drift away on.

Edited to add missing link. Too busy with beginning of semester stuff to be even posting semi-humorous posts. Sorry.

3 comments:

Larry C Wilson said...

In his Heroes and Hero-Worship, Thomas Carlyle said "The true University of these days is a collection of books." What was true in 1841 is no less true today.

socect said...

This brings to mind a perrenial rant... I am so fed up with Anthrosource... I'm a full paid up member, and even then I constantly find that I can't even access content there (password problems and such). In general, the AAA seems pathetic in terms of making the knowledge, information or whatever you want to call it available to the 'general public' (or for that matter even its own membership). I hope more anthropologists will create more valuable 'open source' info on the web as you mention.

Pamthropologist said...

I shall not be tempted to waste my money by becoming a fully paid up member. And we shall hope for some useful and "safe" posted material.