The headline this morning at Infodocket, a blog that's continuously updated day after day, was this:
"Missing from campus bookstore: books."
Lynn University in Florida has scrapaped the traditional book store model, featuring, well, books. Almost every book required for the 300 courses offered at the collge are available digitally.
And a university in Ireland has done the same thing.
This is just the beginning.
Here's the main reason why: Textbook costs for students at Lynn College have dropped 94 percent.
The average student pays only $29.
But that's also because a lot of profs have developed their own course materials that they make available to students for free.
Ultimately this sort of thing will not be good for research and scholarship, as this shows.
Nobody in his or her right mind does something for nothing.
Well, here's a conundrum:
We have just received a slim volume that reputes to boil down Daniel Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" to a 30-minute read. This little summary joins at least four others that I could find on Amazon. So, this classic in American economics is being given repeated treatments a la Cliff's Notes.
Little wonder about this. TFS is a long book. It is not poorly written, though, and can be got through fairly quickly.
The conundrum is this: Why would so many publishers commission summaries of TFS, while at the same time there are NONE for "Capital" by Thomas Piketty?
Piketty's book is a real slog. I read the first chapter and the last chapter, which was advised by something I read in a review.
Since its publication, "Capital" has been called the book most bought but never read in the past year, like Stephen Hawking's book of several years ago about the universe.
Maybe Piketty is just so boring that you can't even summarize him and make it readable.
I dunno. Just wondering.
As a longtime student of human nature, I shouldn't be surprised by anything, I suppose.
I should sort of expect that people with power and/or access to large sums of public money would have few qualms about stealing as much as they could get away with.
Turns out that's not the way things work just in Texas alone.
And the scofflaws are not merely limited to elected officials and their political appointees.
Out there in Chattanooga, Tenn., the library system executive director, a former Dallasite -- which may help explain things -- has apparently been living high on the hog with money not her own.
Joy Lukachick Smith of the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Sunday that Corinne Hill and two assistants went on at least 25 trips in the last two fiscal years, trips that cost taxpayers about $40,000. They went to places like Seattle, Las Vegas, Singapore and Denmark.
The two assistants have been dealt with, and now Hill is trying to defend herself.
I can't see how she can possibly justify spending well over what her own state allows to be spent on travel, which would have been generous enough.
But I have learned that something happens to people when they feel like no one is watching.
Is your brain tired?
Little wonder. Daniel Levitin, author of a new book on the brain, cited dozens of data points during a speech today showing how all of us are exposed to information overload like never before.
Levitin was keynote speaker at an online conference called The Digital Shift: Libraries at the Center.
Example: We have created as much information in the last five years as was created throughout written history before that time.
Americans suffer decision overload, as a result, and so we make poor decisions too often.
Just as bad, we make poor decisions on finding information upon which to base decisions. Too many of us depend on Wikipedia when we ought to know better.
Levitin makes the case that librarians are valuable as curators and as people who can help those seeking information find it.
Of course, he was speaking to the annointed.
How do we get that word out to everyone else/
I don't know.
Niney percent of Americans polled by Harris recently said they feel it is important that a library be a valuable educational resource.
More than 70 percent think libraries are pillars of their communities.
Yet only 64 percent of adults have a library card, which is down from 68 percent six years go.
I agree with Library Journal's Gary Price, who writes that if people really knew what libraries offer today they'd be more inclined to have a card than ever before.
He's talking mainly about web-based resources, and, boy, do libraries have those. Just take a look at what we have for people with a card. In our TexShare Databases alone you can do genealogy research, prepare a resume, find entertainment and so much more. There are hundreds of courses offered at Universal Classes. E-books can be downloaded at Overdrive. And that's all just for starters. In the space above this blog on the home page of our site, press "go" and you can see what's out there.
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