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 and the volume and frequency of commentary in the world of academic libraries and scholarship call for quick (and sometimes loud) response. So I am starting a web log. While libraries and related matters will be the subjects of much of what I am likely to say here, they will not be the only topics. Those of you know me know that I have opinions about many things, and I have never been especially reticent about sharing them. So, I expect that my posts (and I hope yours) will from time to time cover a variety of matters whose immediate relationship to libraries and publishing is not obvious. (Although, of course, pretty much everything of importance is related to libraries, in that if you can’t find a trace of something in a library you probably can’t find it at all.)
My immediate motivation for starting a blog is to add a generally positive (although never uncritical) voice to the cacophony around the subject of large-scale digitization projects in academic libraries, and my first substantive post is on that subject. In starting this blog I am also responding to Peter Brantley’s recent comments to the effect that the voice of big libraries has been noticeably absent on the list-serves and blogs that are the loci of much of the public debate on digitization and other innovations in libraries and publishing.
Of course, any comments that I make here are my own, and are not those of the University of Michigan or its libraries. What I have to say is surely affected by the various roles that I play in my day jobs, but here I speak only for myself, and not for my employers, groups with which I am affiliated, family members, or anyone else.