Author Archive

CDL vs. NPG: who’s in the wrong?

July 6, 2010

The California Digital Library (at the University of California) and Nature Publishing Group are in a battle with words after NPG decided to increase the price of the University’s licence for Nature journals by 400%. This means that the average subscription cost per Nature journal would increase from $4465 to $17479, which would result in a total increase of over one million dollars for Nature’s 67 journals.

In a letter to UC Divisional Chairs and Members of the UC Faculty, CDL proposed a systemwide boycott of Nature’s journals if the publishers are not willing to maintain the licence agreement that currently exists between NPG and CDL. The proposed boycott would involve suspending online subscriptions to Nature journals at UC libraries and strongly encouraging faculty to decline to peer review for and submit papers to Nature journals, to resign from NPG editorial/advisory boards, to cease to advertise new employment positions at UC in Nature journals, and to encourage colleagues outside UC to do the same.


Lost Man Booker Prize Announced!

May 19, 2010

After a forty year delay, the winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize — “a one-off prize to honour the books published in 1970, but not considered for the prize when its rules were changed” — was announced today.

And the winner is…

Troubles by J G Farrell.

“The Lost Man Booker Prize was the brainchild of Peter Straus, honorary archivist to the Booker Prize Foundation. It was created to honour the books of 1970 which missed out on the chance to win the prize when it ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became – as it is today – a prize for the best novel of the year of publication.”

Even though Farrell died over thirty years ago, he certainly has a reason to celebrate today!

Read more about the Lost Man Booker Prize winner here.

Are We Still Capable of Thinking?

April 27, 2010

In his article, “Don’t Touch That Dial!: A history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook,” Vaughan Bell addresses the fear and suspicion that arise each time a new technology emerges: how is this going to affect our ability to think?

“These concerns stretch back to the birth of literacy itself. In parallel with modern concerns about children’s overuse of technology, Socrates famously warned against writing because it would ‘create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories.'”

Imagine what he would think of calculators, automatic spellcheckers, and the internet! But is technology really so bad, or are we simply resistant to change? Bell argues that there is always going to be some form of new technology that “scares” us. But this fear will only persist until something else comes along — a newer, scarier technology.