Michael Wesch and Digital Ethnography

Michael Wesch is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University and he is doing some innovative and significant work on the impact of digital media. Many people probably had their first exposure to him through the YouTube sensation The Machine is Us/ing Us that beautifully illustrates what Web 2.0 is and its implications. The last portion of the video poses that scenario that we need to rethink some things. Two particular aspects of change for this post are scholarly communication and pedagogy.

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Institutional Repository Content Worldwide and US

There are several reasons that an institution would have an IR.  Some focus on preservation and guaranteed access to their intellectual works.  Others create them to provide an alternative and some economic relief from the current scholarly work publishing model, and still others do it to increase the prestige of their institution.  Examining the types of materials actually contained in these IR’s can help reveal whether these reasons are working and what other uses may be developing.

Again the OpenDOAR project allows access to these charts:

Worldwide

Content Types in OpenDOAR Repositories - Worldwide, Institutional Repositories

United States

Content Types in OpenDOAR Repositories - United States, Institutional Repositories

One of the statistics that strikes me is that multimedia items are the third most frequent type of item in US Repositories.  They are growing well beyond the intial purpose of holding text-based materials.  Is the software that is available up to this task?