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Archives for November, 2007

Why I hate the phrase “Scholarly Communication”

I hate the phrase, “scholarly communication.” It’s not that I hate the practice, which I view as a pinnacle of human achievement, without which the life and work of many (including me) would be meaningless. It’s that the phrase itself connotes a mechanical process, rather than the transcendent purpose that underlies the activity itself. Decoding […]

Teaching School

Paul Duguid’s comment on an earlier post of mine gets to important issues that I expect to discuss repeatedly (although not repetitiously) in this space. Among the big questions that he raises are these two: (1) How good a job will Google Book Search do? (2) What are the consequences that flow from the answer […]

Quick response to Siva Vaidhyanathan

[This is a reposting of a comment I made in response to Siva Vaidhyanathan’s questions about my previous post. I am traveling, and can only produce brief answers to his questions now. Later this week I’ll get to most of the issues in more detail here.] Let me start by reminding everyone that I do […]

On being in bed with Google

One of the things that surprises me most about reactions to the Google Library Project is that smart people whom I respect seem to think that the only reason that a university library would be involved with Google is because, in some combination, its leadership is stupid, evil, or at best intellectually lazy. To the […]


Greetings! My name is Paul Courant, and after over 30 years as a college professor and academic administrator, writing and teaching on economics and public policy and serving in a variety of roles including department chair and provost, I recently became University Librarian at the University of Michigan. I find that the pace of change […]