Lever Press

Their has long been growth and development in open access (OA) journal scholarship (both in platform(s) and content), but less so in book-length scholarship. However, Lever Press aims to change that. Find out more here.

Textbook American Revolution

The University of Chicago Press recently issued a two volume narrative history of the United States that is freely available online and reasonably priced ($30) in paperback.

As someone who’s responsible for my college’s history collection (and a former history teacher) I’m both impressed and excited for the future. These sorts of quality and reasonably priced offerings from scholarly presses (see also MIT Press) bode well for the future of scholarly publishing.

Check it out HERE.

Changes WILL be made: Or, does Facebook troll it’s own users?

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Screenshot from Facebook’s Business Manager

The above image is a familiar one to folks who run an organizational/business Facebook Page. A page suggestion is when somebody (though, personally, I’m increasingly beginning to suspect Facebook itself for reasons that I’ll spell out below) suggests a change to your page’s hours, location, category, etc.  Most recently someone suggested that my library’s Facebook page category be changed from “college & university” to “community college.” Over the last few weeks I’ve had suggestions (sometimes repeatedly) that, among other things, our phone number be changed, our hours be adjusted, etc. All of these suggestions have only two things in common. First, they are incorrect and second, Facebook will actually make the change unless we proactively respond. This is maddening. But don’t take my work for it. See this screenshot from Facebook’s “help center.”

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Screenshot from Facebook Business “Help” Center

So, why do I suspect that it’s actually Facebook making some of these suggestions? Well, here goes. First, because the nature of the changes are often partially correct. In the way that something scrapped from the web by an algorithm is often partially correct. For example, the suggested changes to the telephone number is a number that appears on our website but is not the number we want library users to call. Secondly, the changes seemed designed to get the page manager to interact with Facebook. Sites like Facebook are obsessed with getting users to “interact” with the site. One easy way to get Social Media Managers to “interact” is by simply threatening to wreck their page, unless they “engage” with the site. I once sent Facebook Business Help a direct message asking for assistance with a page issue. I received no assistance, but I did get an automated reply thanking me for my contribution and directing me to the Facebook Business Help Page. However, a few days later I began to receive suggestions to add more content and purchase add to “promote” my content.

So, I can’t prove it but I think that I’m being trolled by my own page.

What’s wrong with Peppa Pig?

Anyone who’s gone on YouTube recently knows just how weird it’s become. This is especially true of kids YouTube. James Bridle explains why.

“I’ve also been aware for some time of the increasingly symbiotic relationship between younger children and YouTube. I see kids engrossed in screens all the time, in pushchairs and in restaurants, and there’s always a bit of a Luddite twinge there, but I am not a parent, and I’m not making parental judgments for or on anyone else. I’ve seen family members and friend’s children plugged into Peppa Pig and nursery rhyme videos, and it makes them happy and gives everyone a break, so OK.

But I don’t even have kids and right now I just want to burn the whole thing down.”

Read the rest.

Jerry Jr. and the future of Liberty University

Inside Higher Ed recently ran an in-depth profile on Jerry Falwell Jr. and his plans for the future of Liberty University.

Like most leaders, Falwell has a complex relationship with risk. He’s clearly not afraid of the big gambles, like investing in football or backing Trump. But when previous risks pay off, he can be conservative with the proceeds.

Liberty has invested a low percentage of its endowment into equities, between 20 percent and 30 percent, according to Falwell. It’s taking risks instead by pouring profits into its campus.

Construction on Liberty’s campus isn’t just limited to its athletic facilities. The university is in the midst of a $1 billion campus construction plan funded in large part by its online profits.

Projects include academic buildings, dormitories and a 275-foot-tall tower topped by a replica of the Liberty Bell. The tower, which will hold the university’s School of Divinity, sits on an academic lawn that tour guides say is larger than the lawn at the University of Virginia. It is named the Freedom Tower. Some students have referred to it as the Tower of Babel.

Read the rest here.

Image Credit: Murat Tanyel

All Saints Day 2017

My Aunt Helen’s funeral is today, All Saints Day. For generations Christians around the world have today celebrated the lives of those in whom God’s grace has been especially made manifest. My Aunt Helen was one of those. During her birth, she suffered a prolapsed umbilical cord with temporary oxygen deprivation, leaving her with life-long complications. Because of this, she was never able to clearly articulate many words and could not write, read, or any of the other things for which my Grandparents had no doubted hoped and wished. She was not, however, denied the ability to laugh, love, and enjoy life.

It is perhaps fitting that she would be buried on All Saints, one of the four days recommended for Christian baptism. In many Christian churches, those about to be baptized affirm the Apostle’s Creed. Especially relevant for today is the creed’s emphasis on “the communion of saints” (communio sanctorum). Christians have long understood this to mean those believers, living and dead, who are united in their faith in Christ. In death Helen has gained all that was denied her on earth and of course much more. Today she joins a great “cloud of witnesses” who proclaim God’s great and glorious name, for ever praising Him and saying “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.” My church, like many others, has set these words from Isaiah (known as the sanctus) to music. It’s my favorite part of the entire service. This Sunday, as usual, I’ll be singing the sanctus before communion, but this time I’ll get to singing it along with my Aunt.