Episode 62 – PDA? In the Library?

10 November, 20104 comments

In this episode of Digital Campus, Dan, Amanda, and Mills (Tom was unavailable), were joined by Jennifer Howard from The Chronicle of Higher Education to discuss the latest trends in digital media, higher education, and in particular, libraries. We began by reprising a story from so long ago we could hardly remember it–college professors assigning their students to write or edit Wikipedia entries. Then we moved on to much more important topics, like Robert Darnton’s recent proposal to create a “national digital library.” We also discussed a rising trend among librarians–enthusiasm for “patron driven acquisition,” also know as PDA. Please don’t confuse this PDA with prior uses of that acronym! Amanda then chimed in with her take on Amazon’s plan to offer limited lendability for e-books. Regular listeners won’t be surprised by her take on this proposal. And we wrapped with Dan introducing us all to Omeka.net, CHNM’s newest way of making it easy for web users to create and manage archival and museum collections online.

Other links mentioned in the podcast:
Wikipedia’s Public Policy Initiative
National Digital Library proposal in The Chronicle
National Digital Library proposal in Libraryjournal.com
Patron driven acquisition in The Chronicle
Amazon.com’s ebook lending program

Running time: 52:13
Download the .mp3

Categorized under books, digital humanities, intellectual property, libraries, Library of Congress, museums, publishing, reading, Wikipedia

4 comments to “Episode 62 – PDA? In the Library?”

  1. Wally : 11th November, 2010

    Dan, here’s one idea on where at least Fenwick might be headed in the e-future:


  2. Derek Bruff : 17th November, 2010

    Regarding Amanda’s comment about privacy concerns related to having students create or edit Wikipedia entries as part of their coursework, my read on FERPA (and, for the record, I am not a lawyer) is that it gives students control over their educational record. I don’t think you need written consent from students to have them share course work online, but you do need to let them opt out of doing so in an identifiable way. Telling your students they can use a pseudonym should be sufficient.

    I’ve heard university officials (and EDUCAUSE for that matter) argue that Amanda’s interpretation of FERPA is the correct one, but I’m not convinced that they’re correct. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with getting student consent, but I’m not sure it’s necessary.

    Also, it’s unclear to me if a writing assignment in a class is even covered by FERPA. An instructor’s grade on that writing assignment definitely is covered by FERPA, but the student work itself? I guess if that work makes it clear that a given student is enrolled in a given course, then it would be. Enrollment information is indeed part of the educational record as defined by FERPA.

  3. amanda : 8th December, 2010

    Hey Derek — sorry for my late reply on this; I need to turn on notifications for comments on Digital Campus. You’re right, of course — FERPA covers “educational records” (I think that’s the phrase), and it’s really a broad interpretation of FERPA to say that online student work is included in “educational records.” But sure, some university officials do make that interpretation, and then they write a university policy about it that you’re supposed to follow. I think it was at NC State, unless it was at UVA, where I was sternly advised to get student release forms for online work. At some point someone definitely trained me to do that, but maybe I should become a conscientious objector.

    It is also true that I’ve had a few students who don’t really like doing online work, though I’m thinking mainly of blogging. Some definitely want it taken down when the class ends, and I do think they should have that right. Even for Wikipedia and other places where students can use a pseudonym, I do think that if I’m going to require them to do public online work for a grade, I want to make sure they’re really okay with it.

  4. David Bigwood : 20th December, 2010

    There are still plenty of entries to create in Wikipedia, planetary scientists, for instance. Many of the PIs on important missions lack an entry, some have just a stub. Look at the recipients of the Barringer Medal, G. K. Gilbert Award, or the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. There are more people without an entry than ones who have one. Students interested in the history of science or biography might find someone there to write an entry for.

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