OUR QUIET COLLEGE LIBRARIES: Could Your Library Answer 1 Million Reference Questions A Year?

When I look at these numbers I think of the music industry. Back in the 90’s if you sold 500,000 units the first week that was a success. While today if you open selling 50,000 units that is considered good.

The above chart is listing reference queries at colleges and universities in North America. What does this mean for students’ ability to research? Is Google helpful or is it a crutch?




VOICE TIP: Blow Into a Straw to Exercise (and Avoid Losing) Your Voice. “As news site Vox explains, blowing into a straw is one type of what’s known as semi-occluded vocal tract exercises. These exercises help stretch your vocal cords. This is useful for warming up before a speech or singing, but it’s also helpful if you’re losing your voice.

More on the story here. Video below.



THE WASHINGTON POST: College Is Not a Commodity. “The courses the student decides to take (and not take), the amount of work the student does, the intellectual curiosity the student exhibits, her participation in class, his focus and determination — all contribute far more to her educational “outcome” than the college’s overall curriculum, much less its amenities and social life. Yet most public discussion of higher ed today pretends that students simply receive their education from colleges the way a person walks out of Best Buy with a television.” It’s a good point that we need to include when we talk about the quality of education. As I saw in another post, it’s not the professor’s job to make sure that students learn–that’s the student’s job.


SIGHT READING: How To Practice Sight Reading. Really, just doing it at all is the most important part.


NPR: Why Can’t Streaming Services Get Classical Music Right?

Classical music is generally (though not always) written in movements: Collections of smaller compositions, each quite different in emotion and impact, are juxtaposed together into one larger work. But in every instance, on all the streaming services, one track equals one movement, so I find myself skidding along from emotion to emotion, missing larger compositional arcs. What’s on offer is bleeding chunks of music that are missing the rest of their limbs. (And if I buy a symphony or other long work to download, by the way, I’ll have to pay for each movement individually, or else buy the whole album.)

This is a pretty timely post, especially with the announcement today about Apple’s upcoming music service. Because of the movements, the problems of search and metadata, and the challenges of choosing a good playlist, I’m not really interested in paying for any music service.


HIGHER EDUCATION: If College Is The Same As High School, We Can Cut One.

Conflating high school and college is a harmful trend, and that legislators are seeking to recreate a wheel that doesn’t roll straight tells us this. When cronyist meddling in any industry fails, government simply attempts a repeat. It knows nothing but meddling, so it will poke here, pull strings there, and ultimately come to settle on something eerily similar to the original approach.

High school-college mashups are ineffective because they put college work in high school. Not high-school students in college. AP, for instance, is a single program dumped into a high school environment, many times into schools that perform below what most of us would consider appropriate for high school.

Programs cannot be fully insulated from their environments, and in schools can be highly porous, routinely taking in students who are unprepared for the coursework and weigh down the rest of the class. Mashups try to fit an entire high-school cohort into college work while keeping students in the high-school environment, in which one can hardly help but have a high-school mentality about education and life priorities.

I am inclined to agree. I like the idea of having high schoolers earn credit in college courses, but I’m not sure how well concurrent enrollment works by simply having high schoolers take “college classes” in high school.