Matthew Walther on the funding cuts at University Press of KY

“Conservatives of all people should be appalled by the disdain shown for tradition, the life of the mind, and the past itself exhibited by Bevin and his fellow Kentucky Republicans. As I write this, among the many volumes forthcoming from the University of Kentucky Press is a 300-page collection of the letters of Russell Kirk, precisely the sort of project that would be ruinous for any mainstream publisher to undertake no matter how many units the latest Kardashian sisters cookbook shifts.”

Read the rest.

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