Earlier, I was commenting on one of my fellow classmates’ post on e-readers and the pressures/restrictions that some of the large corporations (amazon/apple) are putting on authors to publish through their medium (ipad/kindle). My comment expressed an optimistic hope that these authors, in the near future, will have an alternative online platform to publish free from restrictions of corporations that can be widely accessible in more mainstream media. Well, a short while after writing that, I came across an article from HuffPost that describes almost exactly what I was hoping for. The intention of the article’s project is to make the theses of master degree graduates (and probably doctoral dissertations as well) available online, instead of the old method: let it collect dust on the library shelf. While this doesn’t encompass fiction or other genres as my original comment hoped for, it does serve a great purpose by giving new life to the works of graduate professionals around the world, and serves as a base for future research and collaboration. The article doesn’t specify the number of works they will publish on Huff Post’s college page, so that could be a downside to the project, allowing the editors of Huf Post to pick and choose what will be published. They do boast though, that the website has a more than one billion page views per month, 40 million unique visitors per month and averages close to 200,000 comments per day. In other words, your thesis will have an exponentially larger amount of exposure compared to that dusty old shelf.
The article has sparked an idea in me for SNC, that might be too extravagant for such a small school (although maybe not with the SNC website impending revamp). It involves showing off students’ work, by creating a smaller version of what HuffPost will do for a thesis. What if we had a part of our website dedicated to publishing everything from poems to scientific experiments to student/faculty collaborations for the world to see? It could be reserved only for works that received a certain grade standard, and if you met the cut, you could work in collaboration with web design/computer science majors to digitize the work. For me, it would be entirely more motivating to write a well thought, intelligent and relevant paper if I knew that it could be published online and actually have value and meaning outside of just a course grade. I’m sure we’ve all felt at one time or another the frustration of putting a lot of time and effort into a paper, that once graded, will likely never see the light of day again. This would eliminate that feeling. I’m entirely too optimistic though, on such an endeavor that would likely be a funding and logistical nightmare for such a small school, but you never know what the future might hold.