Image used courtesy of Jessamyn‘s CC Flickr photos.
Captain Kurtz in Apocalypse Now
I saw Will Richardson’s post that Budd the Teacher had set up a working version of the Commentpress theme. I commented there a bit and generally played around, I had already set up a document themed version of Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative (read more here), but while posting a comment on Bud’s installation of the theme an idea hit (possibly unoriginal, but what isn’t!): “Why don’t we locate a number of public domain books that folks are reading in their classes and publish them through a blog on our WordPress Multi-User installation as an extension of the library.” These books may be linked with a class, but the library “publishes them,” so to speak, and offers additional resources on the works which in turn might foster an active community of collaboratively reading, commenting, and discussing a number of books in a distributed fashion.
This is part of a more general move we have been making to work more directly with the library folks here at UMW (which makes perfect sense) and the more I think about it the more this seems like an unparalleled opportunity to forge an even deeper relationship between the library, teaching, learning, and technology. And I can’t help but think that this theme was made for the 21st century library, allowing for a unique experience that a library is best equipped to richly frame. Why not publish novels, poems, manuscripts, historical documents, etc. and invite classes, researchers, the community as a whole to engage them online. Just think about it, by working collaboratively with teachers and professors, the library can help lead students to more detailed resources, databases, articles, etc. about a particular text or topic making the relationship between reading, discussion, writing and research that much more seamless.