New Issue of Textual Cultures Published

Textual Cultures: Texts, Contexts, Interpretation has recently published its new issue for 2021. Published annually since 1983, Textual Cultures is devoted to the study of textual editing. The journal has been an IU ScholarWorks open access journal since 2017. 

While Textual Cultures has always focused on texts, textuality, and textual editing, the journal has sought to cultivate “an ever more inclusive and multi-voiced approach to issues of textual editing,” encompassing “redefinitions of textuality,” considerations of “diverse textual cultures,” and explorations into emerging cyberspace contexts. 

With the 2021 issue, the editors wanted to “evoke rather than replace” the papers that would have constituted the cancelled March 2020 Society for Textual Scholarship conference (1). This issue’s articles represent over half of the original entries in the conference program. Entitled “Borders of the Book,” this “lost conference” was to explore the “the translations and migrations that transmit texts and that texts themselves have prompted” (1). The issue begins with the two conference keynotes, followed by a theoretical case-study of the editorial theorist Paul Eggert, and concludes with articles addressing a number of different historical eras. 

Roger Chartier’s keynote, “Genealogies of the Study of Material Texts,” outlines the unique trajectory of French textual scholarship. Chartier notes that twentieth-century French book history deemphasized the material aspects of the printing process to focus, instead, on the book as both a commodity and a force of change (20). Under the influence of book historian Henri-Jean Martin, French scholarship also came to focus on the significance of formal elements like typeface and text layout. While Anglo-American and Italian works were gradually integrated, French textual scholarship has retained a distinctive focus on the ways in which the form of a text influences its meaning and reception.  

In his discussion of Eggert’s theories, Matt Cohen stresses the importance of understanding a scholarly edition of a work as one editor’s interpretation or argument about the meaning of a particular text. Using Eggert’s pragmatic approach, scholarly editors keep the needs of “a potentially broad readership” in mind while, at the same time, recognizing the importance of providing a useful interpretation of a work (28). From this perspective, the editor strives not to create the definitive edition of a work, but to offer new ways of understanding its significance. 

One of the highlights of the remaining essays is Jolie Braun’s discussion of the memoirs of nineteenth-century women book canvassers. Braun explains that, in the late 1800s, a number of women became book canvassers – traveling salespeople “who sold books on behalf of subscription publishers” (124). Although canvassing offered both independence and the opportunity to promote literacy, women canvassers had to balance cultural expectations with the traits of successful canvassing: women were expected to be docile and ladylike, but canvassers had to be assertive and tenacious. Braun’s essay demonstrates the importance of these canvassing memoirs, which offer detailed insights into the complicated challenges women faced working in the book trade (129). 

These are just a few highlights from an ambitious issue that exemplifies Textual Culture’s innovative approach. As editor Marta Werner explains, these proceedings “suggest that change is afoot in our ever-emergent field” (2). 

Temporary Free Access to Academic Resources during COVID-19

In response to the pandemic, many vendors and publishers are making scholarly content temporarily available for free. IU Libraries have created a guide that aggregates academic resources that have been made freely available temporarily during the pandemic. This guide is intended to assist librarians, faculty, and researchers in finding resources to support teaching, learning, and discovery as classes have moved online for the foreseeable future.

The guide includes links to a number of community-built lists that are tracking free access to vendor resources. The International Coalition of Library Consortia, for instance, has created a list of information service providers who are offering expanded content access due to COVID-19. These lists cover a variety of free resources including textbook and monograph offerings, music, electronic resources, online learning services and platforms, as well as analytics platforms.

In addition, many publishers are providing temporary access to eBooks, scholarly journals, videos, and other media. Project Muse, for instance, is offering open access eBooks and journals from several distinguished university presses and scholarly societies. In an effort to support educators, the Association for Science Education has made its 2019 and 2020 journal content temporarily open access. Netflix has also made a selection of their documentary features available on the Netflix U.S. YouTube Channel. The IU resources guide provides links and descriptions for all of these resources.

Multiple publishers have made research specifically related to COVID-19 freely available. SAGE publishing, for instance, is providing researchers with access to all of their COVID-19 related content. For additional open access research specific to COVID-19, see the COVID-19 Research page in this guide.  Please note that a few of the research resources listed there are pre-print servers. That content is not vetted research as it has not been peer-reviewed.

The guide also includes a list of resources that are always open access. The benefit of these resources is that they are not only free to use, they can be openly used, edited, stored, and distributed. Additionally, many of these resources can be downloaded then accessed offline by students, even long after the end of a course. Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), for instance, organizes a wide range of cultural heritage resources that are free and immediately available in digital format. 

Finally, the Internet Archive is another extensive resource currently available. It holds millions of books, videos, audio files, and archived web pages on a wide range of topics.

Please note that access to many these resources is temporary, and a resource may be withdrawn without notice by the vendor. This guide will continue to be updated as we discover additional resources.

IU System Joins the Open Textbook Network

The IU system has joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN). Representing over 1,000 institutions, OTN is a consortium of campuses and systems aimed at reducing textbook costs using open educational resources (OER). OTN membership will give IU instructors across the state the ability to review open textbooks in the Open Textbook Library, a collection of nearly 700 textbooks in a variety of disciplines that are free to use, modify, and distribute. Over half of these textbooks have been Open Textbook Network Member badge reviewed by participating instructors, and 70% of the reviews have at least four stars. OTN has found that 45% of instructors who review a textbook go on to adopt it because of its high quality and comprehensiveness.

As part of the OTN membership, IUB staff will receive training on how to find, evaluate, and share open educational resources. Staff will then return to Bloomington to lead workshops for instructors, which introduce both OER and the Open Textbook Library. After each workshop, instructors have the opportunity to review one of the available textbooks in the Open Textbook Library. IUB instructors will receive a stipend for attending the workshop and posting a textbook review in the library. The OTN model provides a low-stakes way for faculty to learn more about OER while aggregating high-quality reviews that help others discern the strengths and weaknesses of OER in a specific subject area. Any IUB instructor of record is eligible to attend a workshop and write a review.

OTN membership also gives IU access to the Publishing Cooperative, an online community with resources to support open textbook publishing and modification. Most of the textbooks available through the OTN library are legally licensed to be modified. The Publishing Cooperative offers guidance to assist instructors in adapting an open textbook to suit their needs. If instructors want to develop their own textbook, the Publishing Cooperative also provides online tools, courses, and step-by-step guides on the open textbook publishing process.

Finally, as a member of the OTN, IUB will have an opportunity to shape the strategy and governance of a key organization that has furthered OER across the nation. Instructors and staff will also be able to monitor textbook usage and track student savings.

According to the OTN website, the average student is now spending $1200 annually on textbooks and supplies. Participating in the OTN will save students money on textbooks while helping instructors customize their course materials.

For more info about OER please visit the Open Scholarship website and be on the lookout for open textbook workshop dates in Bloomington in the Fall.

IU systemwide OTN membership was made possible through the Central Indiana Community Foundation. 

New Issue of The Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (JoSoTL) Published

The Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (JoSoTL) has published a new issue for October, 2019. The IU Libraries host over 60 issues of JoSoTL open access, dating back to 2001.

JoSoTL focuses on publishing rigorous, data-driven research, along with innovative case studies, essays, critiques, and articles that “contribute to deeper understanding of the issues, problems, and research relevant to the community of reflective teacher-scholars.”

Stylized cover of October, 2019 issue

The current issue includes articles exploring various factors that influence student success. “Instructor Response to Uncivil Behaviors in the Classroom: An Application of Politeness Theory,” for example, investigates effective classroom management. When a student is actively disruptive, the instructor must choose, on the spot, between a stern or gentle response to the student’s behavior. In these situations, the instructor risks losing credibility or unnecessarily embarrassing the student based on the firmness of his or her response. This article describes an innovative experimental study of student responses to instructor classroom management strategies. In the experiment, students viewed and responded to videos of classroom management scenes. The authors find that students respond the most positively to stern, direct instructor responses to disruptive behavior.

Another article, “Claiming Their Education: The Impact of a Required Course for Academic Probation Students with a Focus on Purpose and Motivation,” examines the effectiveness of requiring a remedial, credit-bearing course for college students on academic probation. The authors find that requiring a course with “a curriculum centered on helping students identify purpose and motivation” can be a “useful intervention for helping to dramatically increase the retention and graduation of students facing academic difficulty.”

Finally, “‘If They Don’t Care, I Don’t Care’: Millennial and Generation Z Students and the Impact of Faculty Caring” focuses on student reactions to faculty demeanor. Through in-depth interviews with Millennial students, this study investigates student perceptions of instructor “caring” and its impact on motivation. In general, the authors find that students perceive adaptable, empathetic instructors as being the most caring. Student were, for example, more comfortable with instructors who acknowledged the many other responsibilities student have in addition to their classwork.

These articles exemplify JoSoTL’s empirical approach to pedagogical scholarship. The Journal is published four times per year and is available in the Directory of Open Access Journals.