And it is part of the problem of relational contexts being flattened into one zone, as if status and expertise do not matter. That is exactly the kind of flattening that institutions counter with (somewhat) transparent processes of expertise and knowledge production.
Well, why don't researchers just rely on grants and philanthropy to do all this knowledge production? Sure, sure, of course. You know what happens when we only produce the information that the marketplace wants to buy? You get degraded information eco-systems with poor quality.
A student pointed out that as autistic children outgrow the diagnostic interest in early childhood, the quality of information about their lives becomes scarce and poor. Philanthropy cannot subsidize the information health we need to be a plural democracy.
Moving on, we can go on for days about how Open Access research lags in producing research on marginalized people, in critical theory, or broader humanistic research. Suffice to say that OA has the same cumulative history problem that plagues another platform utopia: Wikipedia.
For this, we talked about Fracesca Tripodi's article on gender inequality and Wikipedia. Wikipedia is as close we get to the kind of accessibility that defunding academic libraries suppose will fill the gap. Let's talk about that utopia.
1:19 AM · Oct 28, 2021
Going further, she finds that the gap isn't just in creating pages on women. The gap is about who can CARETAKE those pages. (Are you sensing a theme?) Caretaking the pages of women (and LGBTQIA & non-binary) notables requires accumulated privilege.
It takes free time and expertise and social standing among an in-group of Wikipedia editors who police the boundaries of inclusion through a web of formal and informal rules (like all groups). You know who has time to argue with editors about a wikipedia page? Probably not women.
It does have the public mandate to adjudicate that infrastructure transparently. No other entity has both the infrastructure and the mandate and that is why there is no substitute for the library in the academic mission in public life and an information society.
This is also why cutting library budgets is a public problem. Without a plan to manage these indirect but predictable effects of library cuts -- the degraded quality and accessibility of the society's core resource -- we abdicate our mission. And I'd say that no matter my job.