The open question

neon open sign

When I realized one of the authors of this first article is Jeffrey Pomerantz, I laughed out loud. Dr. Pomerantz was my thesis advisor when I was in the library science program at the University of North Carolina. Thankfully, I have no bad memories of that process, so I have not been traumatized by reading an article co-written by him.

While I recognize that discussions about “what is open?” and “why open?”, etc., etc., are necessary, I am always a little bored. I am not the best abstract thinker. I find it much easier to be concrete and active. Articles like this one feel like academic exercise that will never end. Other academics are free to engage in that discussion. I’ll be over here for when something needs to be done, thanks!

One way in which the concept of “open” and what it means exactly matters for me is as a librarian working with e-resources. Resources provided by the library are not “open” in the sense that they are free to everyone. But they are effectively free to the students and faculty who don’t feel the purchase. They have been available for a very long time, and faculty are typically free to use them to build a non-traditional curriculum.

Overall, I’ve thought that education is an appropriate space for valuing openness. Gaining knowledge, creating knowledge, sharing knowledge. The values of library science especially match up well with these ideas. One of our ideals is that information would be accessible and free to absolutely anyone. Socioeconomic status should never be what determines whether a person can access the information they need to be a good citizen, parent, caretaker, friend, partner, etc.


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