Here’s an in-depth report by Jennifer Howard from the Chronicle of Higher Education about the Ithaka Sustainable Scholarship Conference thank took place in New York City on Tuesday.
Barbara Rockenbach, director of the humanities and history libraries at Columbia University, spoke at a separate panel about how to support the kind of multitasking and moving among texts that readers tend to do now. She made the point that this behavior is not really new; Thomas Jefferson had multiple books going simultaneously. But digital technology enables readers to scan, sort, and browse texts in a multitude of ways. In 2008, she said, Columbia’s digital-humanities center did a survey of 940 users, including graduate students and faculty members. The survey found that being able to scan print texts was very important to users, who wanted more access to scanners in the library.
“That seems to be the most compelling trend in the data from the last five years,”Ms. Rockenbach told the audience.
For libraries and perhaps even publishers overwhelmed by the work required to digitize, tag, and archive content, and to make it accessible to users, crowd-sourcing might be at least a partial solution. The final panel of the conference focused on “Crowd Power: When the Audience Becomes the Author.” Ben Vershbow, manager of the New York Public Library Labs, described its experiences with recruiting general users to help tag historical maps and decipher old menus from restaurants in New York City. Crowd-sourcing, he said, can help a library explore such “edge collections,” which tend to take a back seat to important core collections but contain a wealth of valuable material.
Much More in the Full Text Article from the COHE