Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Future of Scholarly Publishing

Kate Wittenberg, director of EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia University, writes in the June 16 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education that in order to succeed in the future, scholarly publishers will have to confront this reality: "Most students today arrive at college assuming that a Google search is the first choice for doing research, that MySpace is the model for creating online content and building peer communities, and--perhaps most important--that multitasking with various electronic devices, often from remote locations, is the traditional way to do class work." Wittenberg uses a term I have never heard before but that seems apt, "digital natives," to describe today's college-age students, and claims that if they "are the next audience for...scholarly resources, shouldn't we be thinking about new ways to organize, store, and deliver our content?" The article has all sorts of implications for libraries (for instance, does anyone besides librarians care about the catalog? how do we enable students to use their remote devices to access library content?), but also has implications for teachers. Wittenberg wonders whether scholarly publishers could ally with a social-networking environment such as MySpace and Facebook and "build a networking space focusing on the information needs of students." The site could be used to promote dialogue and cooperation among the students, discussion of class readings, and creation of multimedia class projects. Furthermore, "faculty members and librarians could create profiles of their own, with commentary on the subject under discussion, and users could decide how to integrate the content and tools we provide into the environment they create for themselves." An enhanced Blackboard or TWEN? Read the article here.

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

This is what I am thinking and blathering about with those virtual worlds and ideas about teaching games. The next generation is not going to let us wean them away from the technology. We had better learn how to make the technology work for us!

I think the idea of an OPAC that looks and feels like Google is exciting. III seems to be moving that way, though part of the charm of Google is their very clean design. Librarians have a very hard time letting go of all that bibliographic stuff. Maybe do what we do here with READ MORE HERE? And put the bibliographic details and subject cataloging there for those who want to access them. The others just get the title and a hot link, if possible, to some portion or the whole thing, online.