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We Own All Your Base (Library Edition).

The Georgia Tech Library is running the following notice

Because of recent problems with systematic downloading of IEEE and ASCE journal articles that resulted in the suspension of our access, the Library has implemented downloading limits. We will continue to monitor this situation. Please note that downloading entire collections of data or entire issues of a journal or conference is a violation of copyright law and a violation of Georgia Tech's licenses with publishers.

Yet another reason why we need open content. Subscription prices are rising at a rapid pace. Every university I've been at has sent out "surveys" to find out which journals we "really" need because costs are outstripping budgets. Now we get "downloading limits" with no specifics about those limits. What if I'm interested in an entire special issue? Do these "downloading limits" mean I can only see one article per day? Per week? Per month? Soon to come, printing limits, time limits on how long one can read an article--already in use via NetLibrary, and perhaps even citation limits. Digital collections are great, but not when they come with high prices and restrictions. It appears the Georgia Tech Library is only borrowing the journals.

Credibility Commons

Nick Carbone published this link on techrhet just yesterday:

http://credibilitycommons.org

I noticed a new posting this morning, explaining the site's purpose:

The Credibility Commons is an experimental environment enabling individuals the opportunity to try out different approaches to improving access to credible information on the World Wide Web. Tools will be provided to researchers as well as the public, allowing them to try out search strategies, collections and other approaches to improving access to credible information. The Commons can be viewed as a collaborative space in which to share ideas, data sets, results and innovations. This project is sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation who is deeply invested in improving access to credible information on the World Wide Web.

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Blogging the 4Cs (Conference on College Composition and Communication) 2006 -- Day 1

It's a little after midnight on March 23. The fancy-schmancy hotel where the conference is taking place charges an hourly rate for internet access, so I didn't liveblog. But here are my entries for the first day of the conference.

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"everything bad is good for you" is not so good

Another plug, but I couldn't resist after reading Matt Barton's review of the Steven Johnson book a couple posts down. I'd like to alert Kairos readers to a thread recently begun at if:book -- the blog of the institute for the future of the book -- where we have mounted a multi-post, ongoing critique of EBIGFY, in which Johnson himself is participating. We were moved to do this after witnessing the near-universal acclaim the book has received. Already, we've come across numerous instances of it being assigned as essential reading for new media and design classes, in some cases by teachers who haven't even read it. It seemed time for a more rigorous discussion...

Web Accessibility and Its Impact on Student Learning: A Qualitative Study

Abstract Submitted for Computers and Writing Online 2005

Web accessibility and usability is a far-reaching and significant arena of research, which is slowly beginning to receive more attention, not only in academia, but also in the professional writing world and field of web development. At this time, the preponderance of literature that addresses web accessibility and usability related issues takes the form of a dialogue among web developers, predominantly through threaded discussions and online articles. It is these authors that are slowly entering into the conversation and addressing the accessibility standards issued forth by the W3C (WAI) and Section 508 of the Educational Rehabilitations Act Amendments. When addressing accessibility, authors interested in adhering to the standards typically employ traditional rhetorical appeals, with an emphasis on appeals to logos (law and business) and pathos (the plight of the disabled user). A mass of anecdotes, quotes, and other references to the struggles that disabled users face when attempting to use the web, either for professional, personal, or academic purposes consistently emerges. It is these appeals that precipitated the interest and focus of this research. Unfortunately, there is a serious dearth of existing literature addressing web accessibility in the academy. My research focuses on this gap and specifically addresses the accessibility issues that students face when attempting to be successful at a large, public, postsecondary institution. Although the existing literature paints a picture of extreme hardship for disabled users, the emphasis given to the struggles of the disabled student is lacking. Rarely is the student given the formal right to be heard in order to articulate the severity of the problem. This lack of voice is the catalyst to numerous questions about web use at the university level: How do the expectations of professors and instructors encumber the achievement of students? How do the expectations of the university as a degree-granting institution hinder student success? What types of technologies are available to students with disabilities at any particular institution? How do these technologies play a role in aiding students in being successful? Are they sufficient? Do postsecondary institutions provide the “equal opportunity” for students with disabilities that the law requires? The research will apply a qualitative approach to attempt to answer these questions. Through a series of interviews, a focus group, and finally a longitudinal case study of subjects with a variety of disabilities, the full article will argue for an institutionally heightened awareness of web accessibility issues. It will also illuminate issues idiosyncratic to particular disabilities of which web designers and instructors alike need be aware. Ultimately, the goal of the paper is to illuminate the accessibility issues of university students and advocate for an institutional embrace and implementation of the aforementioned accessibility and usability standards.

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