The Elephant Roundup (April 2022)

Yelena Kalinsky Discussion

Changing Shape of Scholarship

  • Danielle Cooper and Dylan Ruediger, Guest Post — Event Streaming Start-Ups: A Strategic Overview and Taxonomy, Scholarly Kitchen (blog), April 20, 2022.

    • “The pivot to remote activities during the pandemic has led to a sharp increase in the recording of scholarly events hosted by universities and societies, including seminars and conferences. The surge in virtual meetings has in turn encouraged stakeholders in the scholarly communications sphere to question longstanding assumptions about the unique values of the in-person and digital modalities for events and outputs, and to imagine new opportunities for innovation at their intersection by leveraging video as a scholarly output. While video as a medium for scholarly outputs isn’t entirely new, momentum towards integrating video into the mainstream of scholarly communication has never been higher.”

  • Columbia University Libraries, Overdue Conversations (podcast)

    • Overdue Conversations is a podcast about the ways archives inform our discussions around history, literature, and politics. From digital publishing to reparative justice, climate change to public health, this series of overdue conversations takes archival documents out of the stacks and into the public forum to consider how collecting practices, selective reading, and erasure of past knowledge informs and distorts contemporary debates.”

Library Privacy

  • Privacy Field Guides from the ALA,

    • “The Institute of Museum and Library Services, in partnership with the American Library Association, has sponsored the creation of these Privacy Field Guides. The guides contain practical, hands-on exercises for you to create a more privacy-focused library. They are designed for academic, public, and school libraries of all types.”

Digital Preservation

  • Pranshu Verma, Meet the 1,300 librarians racing to back up Ukraine’s digital archives, The Washington Post, April 8, 2022.

    • “Buildings, bridges, and monuments aren’t the only cultural landmarks vulnerable to war. With the violence well into its second month, the country’s digital history — its poems, archives, and pictures — are at risk of being erased as cyberattacks and bombs erode the nation’s servers. Over the past month, a motley group of more than 1,300 librarians, historians, teachers and young children have banded together to save Ukraine’s Internet archives, using technology to back up everything from census data to children’s poems and Ukrainian basket weaving techniques. The efforts, dubbed Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online, have resulted in over 2,500 of the country’s museums, libraries, and archives being preserved on servers they’ve rented, eliminating the risk they’ll be lost forever.”

  • Volunteers Unite to Archive Ukrainian Cultural Heritage, March 8, 2022.

    • “One week after launching the initiative Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO), co-organizers Quinn Dombrowski (Stanford University), Anna Kijas (Tufts University), and Sebastian Majstorovic (Austrian Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage) report that the project’s 1,000 volunteers from across the world have captured over 1,500 Ukrainian museum and library websites, digital exhibits, text corpora, and open access publications.”

  • Joshua Benton, After 25 years, Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive are still working to democratize knowledge, NiemanLab (blog), March 24, 2022.

    • “A little while back, the Internet Archive celebrated its 25th birthday, and I used that as an excuse to chat with Kahle about how his vision for it had changed along with the internet it tries to preserve in amber — and about why there is still so much human knowledge locked away on microfilm. Here are some bits of our conversation, lightly edited to make me sound more coherent on Zoom calls.”

Open Access

  • Mirela Roncevic, The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Open Access publishing: Key takeaways, No Shelf Required (blog), March 23, 2022.

    • “...the usage of Open Access scholarly books grew significantly during the first two years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021). Equally interesting: the ‘closed’ monographs that were opened up temporarily during the early stages of the pandemic (by a wide range of publishers and university presses), also saw a tremendous increase in usage worldwide, confirming that scholarly content that is open and available to researchers without restriction gets used significantly more than when it is closed.”

  • A.J. Boston, Guest Post: Open Access and the Direction Moving Forward, Scholarly Kitchen (blog), April 26, 2022.

    • “Watching cOAlition-S ratchet up urgency around open access has been an object lesson in the power that funders can wield when they coordinate around an issue. Spurred by the funder-led push for authors to make their works open access, research institutions have been signing read-and-publish deals and these have swiftly accelerated the total growth of articles published as open access. But if you look closely, you will find an ideological movement has arisen which objects to these deals [...] from those that otherwise favor open access. A common theme of these critiques, and related discourse more broadly, can be characterized with one word: Equity.”

Library Publishing

  • Rebecca Poole, United they stand: More and more library publishers are sharing experiences to topple tradition, Research Information (Winter 2022). (h/t H-HistBibl)

    • “More than two years ago [...], the Library Publishing Coalition joined forces with the Educopia Institute and 12 very different US-based libraries to explore how journal publishing workflows were being used across their publishing programs. [...T]he Library Publishing Workflows project has shone a light on the myriad challenges library publishers face - and what has been crystal-clear from the word 'go' is that library publishing is remarkably diverse with each organisation's workflow depending on local resources.”

Researching in Acute Times

  • Susan Smith-Peter, What do Scholars of Russia owe Ukraine?, NYU Jordan Center Blog, April 1, 2022.

    • “This post is not intended as a complete review essay, but rather as an invitation for my fellow scholars of Russia to consider undergoing a process of self-reflection and questioning. Because historians of Russia rely heavily on Russian state archives, the dominant vision of the Russian state becomes normalized. Ironically, the focus on the availability of archives after 1991 may have preempted a larger discussion about the need to decolonize the narrative.”

  • Karin Wulf, Unreachable/ Unwritable Histories: Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, The Scholarly Kitchen (blog), April 7, 2022.

    • “[...] this series explores how acute crisis — often in addition to the cumulative, snowballing effect of cultural factors — such as war or environmental disaster has made or will make some histories unreachable — or unwritable. Each of the three posts in the series will ask the same five basic questions to two scholars; usually [...] it will include a scholar working from the country in question, whether within a library or archive or in an academic or other research post.”

  • Kurt Kohlstedt, Uncensored Library: Banned Journalism Housed in Virtual Minecraft Architecture, 99% Invisible (blog), March 3, 2022.

    • “[...] when governments censor the media, groups like Reporters Without Borders spearhead efforts to make such censored material extra visible. Their Uncensored Library project brings together architecture and journalism in an unlikely virtual reality space: the interactive gaming world of Minecraft.”

Academic Labor

  • Anemona Hartocollis, Help Wanted: Adjunct Professor, Must Have Doctorate. Salary: $0, New York Times, April 6, 2022.

    • “Contingent faculty [...] make up a huge portion of the teaching staff of universities — by some estimates, around 70 percent overall and more in community colleges. They have long complained about the long hours and low pay. But these unpaid arrangements are perhaps the most concrete example of the unequal power in a weak labor market — in which hundreds of candidates might apply for one position. Institutions are able to persuade or cajole people who have invested at least five or six years in earning a Ph.D. to work for free, even though, academics said, these jobs rarely lead to a tenure-track position.”

Publishing Controversy

  • Justin Weinberg, OUP’s Decision to Publish “Gender-Critical” Book Raises Concerns of Scholars and OUP Employees, Daily Nous (blog), April 12, 2022.

    • “Two open letters are circulating regarding the decision of Oxford University Press to publish Gender-Critical Feminism, a forthcoming book by Holly Lawford-Smith, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Melbourne. [...] In the letter they express their “profound disappointment” with OUP’s decision to publish the book. They note that they are not aiming to “censor ideas” and do not call for the decision to publish the book to be reversed. Rather, they raise questions about the processes involved in the publication of the book, and call for OUP to answer those questions and take other measures […]”

  • Mitchell Atencio, Wipf and Stock to Pull ‘Bad and Boujee from Publication, Distribution, Sojourners (blog), April 14, 2022.

    • “Wipf and Stock Publishers confirmed today that it has initiated the removal and ceased distribution of Jennifer M. Buck’s book, Bad and Boujee: Toward a Trap Feminist Theology, after days of criticism directed at the book. [...] Wipf and Stock issued a formal statement, writing that they ‘quickly realized that critics of the book—and critics of Wipf and Stock for publishing it—have serious and valid criticisms, [...] we should have seen numerous red flags, including but not limited to the inappropriateness of a White theologian writing about the experience of Black women (the issue of cultural appropriation is pervasive, from cover to content), the lack of Black endorsers, and the apparent lack of relationship with Black scholars, especially those who originated the trap feminist discourse […]’” 

Crossover Appeal


  • The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Announcing the 2022 Guggenheim Fellows, April 7, 2022.

    • “On April 7, 2022, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of 180 exceptional individuals. Chosen from a rigorous application and peer review process out of almost 2500 applicants, these successful applicants were appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.”

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