What We’re Reading: September 27, 2012

Today’s What We’re Reading features a roundtable of reactions related to the AHA’s recent open access statement, a new web portal from the NEH promoting an interdisciplinary approach in the classroom, and a look at a 14th-century cookbook.

Open Access Debate

The AHA Council recently approved a statement on open access, which consequently generated debate amongst readers. Discussion flooded our AHA Today blog, Twitter, and Facebook, and the AHA looks forward to a continued conversation. Below are reactions to the statement found around the web.

Not So Fast On “Open Access”: Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed offers a thorough summary of the statement, and how the statement relates to current open access debate.

Treading Water on Open Access: AHA member Dan Cohen argues that historians are merely treading water on the issue of open access and have not “tried very hard” to look for a business model that can complement open access.

Feds Charge Activist with 13 Felonies for Rogue Downloading of Academic Articles: Wired reports on the case of Aaron Swartz, who is accused of “evading MIT’s attempts to kick his laptop off the network while downloading millions of documents from JSTOR. … Using a program named keepgrabbing.py, the scraping took place from September 2010 to January 2011 via MIT’s network, and was invasive enough to bring down JSTOR’s servers on several occasions, according to the indictment.”

History in the News

History Coalition Calls on Georgia Governor to Keep State Archives Open: The National Coalition for History has contributed a list of professional associations and organizations that have publicly come out against the plan to close the Georgia State Archives. It is important to note because it demonstrates how important collaborative advocacy among disciplines is, and the power it may hold in making a change.

Picturing America: A new initiative from the National Endowment of the Humanities exhibits how teachers can incorporate masterpieces of American art into lesson plans and lectures. The website includes a series of teaching tools, including worksheets, web resources, and lesson plans.

Indulging in Myth on Debate’s 50th Anniversary: Media Myth Alert goes after the idea that “people who watched the [Kennedy-Nixon] debate on television thought that Senator John F. Kennedy won; those who listened on radio thought Vice President Richard Nixon had the best of it.”

Author of Subversives Responds to Book’s Critics: Seth Rosenfeld writes a letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which covered responses by historians to his book on 1960s Berkeley radicals. Perspectives Online published an article on the book by Donna Murch, who is quoted in the original Chronicle article and is mentioned in Rosenfeld’s response.

Help Wanted: Thoughts on the Recent Boom in Academic Public History Jobs: At History@Work, Lara Kelland and Anne Parsons write that “public history became a hot commodity in the academic job market. In 2008, the number of job announcements rose 27.9 percent and last year the number of postings rose significantly again.”

“Redistribution” Has Never Been a Characteristic of America”: The above statement by Governor Mitt Romney is examined by Politifact, which garners opinions from a number of historians.

Fun and Interesting News around the Web

What’s Going On with the Tesla Museum? Webcomic artist The Oatmeal provides an update on his efforts (covered in AHA Today) to crowdfund a museum dedicated to Nikola Tesla: $1.2 million raised, with much of this matched by a grant from New York state, “puts us at a little over $2 million bucks.” Another matching grant has challenged donors to raise another $33,333.

First English Cooker Manuscript: The oldest known cookery manuscript in the English language has been digitized. Readers may be interested in what an everyday meal consisted of in the 14th century. Out of ideas for your next dinner party? Check out the recipes for “sotiltee”—an elaborate edible sugar sculpture.

Helping Students Find Their Place in the World: Danielle Allen writes an op-ed for the Washington Post arguing for a K–12 curriculum that “unifies liberal arts and vocational elements at all elements.”

Your Guide to Your First Week on the Job: Whether you are a recent graduate or a veteran professional, Daily Muse writer Laura Katen has provided a great advice for those who are starting a new position. Advice includes: Don’t overcommit yourself, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to speak up.

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