What We’re Reading: December 6, 2012

In today’s What We’re Reading we feature news related to the history profession, advice on personal digital preservation, and an amusing tumblr poking fun at the rigors of academic life.

History and the Profession

Common Core Sparks War over Words
A debate between teachers and administrators is growing heated in the wake of the Common Core State Standards in English urge to increase the number of nonfiction readings assignments, including history texts.

What If We Made Fewer PhDs?
Leonard Cassuto discusses in the Chronicle the issues relating to employment trends and capping enrollment in PhD programs.

Elevator Speech
Excellent advice for archivists, public historians, and academics too on how they can (and should!) advocate for their professions.

How Historians Earn Tenure
Nice gloss on the AHA study of senior history faculty from Inside Higher Ed.

A Peek inside the Sausage Factory
FOIA Ombudsman describes the efforts to push federal agencies to comply with law.

Issues relating to Archives and Open Access

Archiving Should Be Like Spring Cleaning
At the New York Times, the Smithsonian Institution’s Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig gives advice on keeping stuff.

Open Access: Stakes Are High at the Debates over the Future of Scholarship
Manuel Barcia reports on the open access debate for Al Jazeera, mentioning the AHA’s statement on open access publishing.

Archivist Puts the History in Historical Drama Boardwalk Empire
Library Journal features Heather Halpin Perez, manager of the Alfred M. Heston Collection and (unpaid) consultant to HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

Fun and Frivolous

When in Academia
Yet another tumblr dedicated to academics. Fair warning: you could easily lose hours of your day navigating through the pages of this painfully hilarious blog.

“Comfort Is Largely a Social Construct”: The Unsettled Design Ethos of the Chair
At the Atlantic, an interview with Jonathan Olivares on his book about office chairs.

Boxers, Briefs, and Battles
Jean Huets, for the New York Times Disunion series, gives an interesting look at some of the harsh conditions Civil War soldiers endured on the front lines, much of which directly related to their undergarments.

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