how the university works

My review of Marc Bousquet’s book How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation has been published on Blogcritics. It took me a few months of reading a little at a time to get through it, and I will admit to skimming quite a bit. I also had to put it down several times because it was too depressing to keep reading.

The stereotype of the tweedy professor — older, male, and white — is one that continues to be the common perception of academics in American culture. The reality is that this stereotype is such a minority, it might be a candidate for the endangered species list. It is this stereotype that prevents the average American from seriously considering the plight of college and university educators. Bousquet blasts that stereotype out of the water with his accurate and thorough descriptions of the true working conditions in higher education.

e-serials collection management

Thinking about acquiring your own copy of the book “E-serials Collection Management: Transitions, Trends, and Technicalities”? Don’t bother.

I just finished reading E-serials Collection Management: Transitions, Trends, and Technicalities edited by David C. Fowler. It sounded like a great piece of professional literature that would help me with my job, and probably it would have, had it been published in 2002 instead of 2004. Most of the essays were from the 2001-2002 era of electronic journal management, and with the way the technology and access methods have changed in recent years, most of the essays had become irrelevant before they were even published in this book.

I was particularly bemused by one essay that spent some time discussing the disadvantage of IP access over password access because of off-campus users. The author explained that proxy servers were cumbersome because they required the off-campus user to re-configure their browser settings. Yeah, sure, if you’re not running something like EZproxy, which has been around since 1999.

I feel cheated by the time I spent reading/skimming through this book, and I am sorry that my institution spent time and money in acquiring it for our collection. There is very little in this book that is still useful, and I expect even that will fade away in a few short years. If you feel you must purchase this book, at least do yourself a favor and get a paperback copy.