Department Blog

H/SS & Gov Info Services

Marx’s major Work in Slides

May 21st, 2014 by Michael Winter

For an innovative approach to the understanding of Marx’s Capital, UC Davis library users should take a look at PolyLuxMarx: A Capital Workbook in Slides,  a recent addition to the collection.  A subset of these slides and other material supporting an understanding of the work of Marx and Engels in the production of their masterwork, can also be viewed and downloaded, in English, German, and Spanish.

Surprise academic bestseller by French political economist

May 12th, 2014 by Michael Winter

Not many academic books, like French economist Thomas Piketty’s new work, Capital in the 21st Century, manage to get much public attention, but a recent interview of Paul Krugman, conducted by Bill Moyers, tells the story of a new book that falls into that category. Not surprisingly, the library’s copy is checked out, but of course can be recalled from the catalog record;and in any event the library owns a number of earlier works  by Piketty and his colleagues on similar topics.

Seeking New Paths to Open Access in the Humanities

February 21st, 2014 by David Michalski

Earlier this week, I attended webinar, called “Open Access in the Humanities” led by Rupert Gatti. Dr. Gatti is a Fellow in Economics at Trinity College, Cambridge and Co-Founder and Director of Open Book Publishers. The presentation outlined the landscape and the challenges of Open Access in the humanities.

One point that resonated with me, given the centrality of monographs to the humanities, was a statistic that showed the relative dearth of new open access academic books in relation to new journal titles. Clearly there are combinations of reasons preventing a more robust move to open access in the humanities, both economic (the problem of financial capital: books (e or print) are more labor intensive) and sociocultural (the problem of cultural capital: in that humanities books are awarded status and prestige through publishing houses). Gatti’s presentation took on these challenges by seeking a sustainable ways to address these conditions, showing some exciting options moving forward.

The bulk of his presentation was spent on Open Books Publishers, a new publishing project for peer-reviewed open access monographs, which he directs. (See Open Books Publishers:

http://www.openbookpublishers.com/section/25/1/faqs ) This outfit has only published a few books to date, but their economic model, which includes a mixture of revenue from big name supporters, hard-copy and alternative format sales, and voluntary author-generated publication grant funding makes them an interesting new player in field.

Gatti also outlined other important initiatives. One of these was Knowledge Unlatched, (See: http://www.knowledgeunlatched.org/ ) a project which seeks long-term cost savings for institutions by sharing the costs of making HSS monographs available on a Creative Commons license. UC Libraries is part in one of their pilot projects. Another was Unglue It, ( https://unglue.it/about/) a project designed to help individuals and institutions join together to liberate specific ebooks “crowd-funding ” payments to authors and publishers so they they will relicense their works under Creative Commons licenses.” 

It is exciting to see these different economic models being tried. While I can’t say they will all achieve the sustainability they desire, it is clear that their aim is to create cooperatives to address real costs.

This webinar was sponsored by UKSG, a group formally that United Kingdom Serials Group. UKSG has evolved into a network that encourages “the exchange of ideas on scholarly communication…spanning the wide range of interests and activities across the scholarly information community of librarians, publishers, intermediaries and technology vendors. More about their activities can be found here: http://www.uksg.org/

Tomorrow is already today: “Heute für Morgen” at BMW

February 26th, 2013 by Michael Winter

BMW has introduced a new concept of the work group:  the average age of the workers can’t drop below 47, reflecting the shifting demographics of the advanced industrial societies.

Full story at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21535772

Digital Pileup

March 17th, 2011 by Michael Winter

Some have suggested that libraries need to reduce their “paper footprint.” Implicit in this view is the assumption that digital information and communication technologies are somehow greener and more sustainable than others; but this is highly questionable:

“The data centers dotting the globe, colloquially known as “server farms,” are major power users with considerable carbon footprints[…]In the United States, it’s estimated that server farms, which house Internet, business and telecommunications systems and store the bulk of our data, consume close to 3 percent of our national power supply. Worldwide, they use more power annually than Sweden. ”

From  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/opinion/13podolny.html?_r=2

Dirty Secrets of Search

February 13th, 2011 by Michael Winter

From thte NYT of Sunday February 13, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13search.html?_r=1

New Springer Link eBook title of general interest

November 24th, 2010 by Michael Winter

Many SpringerLink eBook titles are highly specialized treatments of topics in the natural sciences, engineering, and computer science.   For an interesting exception,  see J.L. Casti, Mood matters:  from rising skirt lengths to the collapse of world powers.  Contents include:

The unconventional wisdom — Why “stuff” happens — Why hits happen — Why wars, economic cycles, and political crises happen — Why great powers come and go — Getting it together

Summary provided as blurb:   “Casti argues that human affairs– fashions, economic trends and the fall of governments or wars– can be traced back to an underlying social mood, which heavily biases the way things develop.”

Fulltext is available at http://www.springerlink.com/content/nmq148/#section=721304&page=1

Free Access to World Bank Data

April 21st, 2010 by Juri Stratford

The World Bank Group is now offering free access to more than 2,000 financial, business, health, economic and human development statistics that had mostly been available only to paying subscribers.

Researchers may access the World Bank’s databases via a new website, data.worldbank.org.

The World dataBank provides a similar interface to the earlier WDI Online. It includes World Development Indicators & Global Development Finance, Gender Statistics, Education Statistics, Health Nutrition and Population Statistics, Africa Development Indicators and Global Economic Monitor.

The Green Library Movement

February 13th, 2010 by Michael Winter

UCD ‘s chancellor Linda Katehi recently emphasized in her State of the Campus address to the faculty on February 11th that sustainability is a strength and so should be a continuing emphasis on campus. Since the campus libraries have already shown a strong interest in this area, the following eScholarship article will be of interest:

Monika Antonelli, “The Green Library Movement: An Overview of Green Library Literature and Actions from 1979 to the Future.”EGJ: Electronic Green Journal 27 (Fall 2008) .http://escholarship.org/uc/item/39d3v236

Understanding Economic Statistics: an OECD Perspective

September 22nd, 2009 by Juri Stratford

This volume describes how to use economic statistics in general and OECD statistics in particular. It introduces the main concepts used by statisticians and economists to measure economic phenomena and provides tables and charts with relevant data.

The book describes the production of international statistics and the availability of the data on the Internet. Chapters include coverage of the demand for economic statistics; basic concepts, definitions and classifications; the main producers of economic statistics; and assessing the quality of economic statistics.

This volume is freely available online through the OECD web site.