a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
Katrina Spencer is the thinker and writer of this piece.
Arabella Holzapfel is the feeler and instigator of this piece.
Hi, I’m Katrina Spencer (go/katrina/), the Literatures & Cultures Librarian at the Davis Family Library. I’m the person populating the wooden, easel-shaped display with rainbow-themed items, one of the people responding to e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org, and one of the people who will teach you how to request library purchases: go/requests/.
And my name is Arabella Holzapfel, the Electronic Resources Manager for the Middlebury College Libraries. I’m the person that makes sure we have access to all the EBSCO-based databases you use, the famous JSTOR, and all the other online resources you need late Sunday night for your Monday morning deadlines. I am magic. I am a goddess. Hear me roar.
We have been thinking over the Charles Murray-related events and we, like the community, are troubled. Deeply. Katrina came up with an idea to write a piece that would help highlight some of the concerns we have surrounding this controversy, phrasing it in terms we are intimately familiar with. Hence, How Evaluating Online Databases for Subscriptions Can Be Like Researching Presenters for Campus Speaking Invitations was born. While we realize this work does not serve as a perfect analogy with one-to-one parity on how we “vet” speakers before inviting them to campus, the comparison will nonetheless raise some significant points of consideration. Join us on a rhetorical journey.
When the library staff prepares to make a decision about what databases and journals will be made available to our community, which includes quite the array of high-performing scholars, there is a series of questions we ask ourselves, not limited to the list below. Sample a subset:
Now let’s apply this to future invited speakers:
In all transparency, the recent events in our community make us question whether we, as a community, considered the questions just above with the rigor we ought to. And maybe we should from now on. Systematically. Regularly. You know, sort of like a practice. A policy.
Food for thought,
Katrina and Arabella