Visual Meta for the Web

Part of our redesign will be the incorporation of Visual Meta into our pages.

What is Visual Meta you might ask? It is meta-data containing authorship and citation information allowing a page to effectively identify itself to reference managers.

But unlike older systems like COINS or HTML header meta-data tags, Visual Meta is a viable part of a document that a software application or human reader can easily locate and extract. And when printed, it can be scanned in and converted back to data via ORC technology. This makes it remarkably robust and superior to the automatically generated headers footers added by most browsers when a web page is printed.

Visual Meta is an open standard that at minimum contains a self-citation block, but it and can be augmented with additional content like glossary entries, so what we can do with Visual Meta is limited only by our imagination!

The New Media Reader

To chart our future course it is critical that we not loose sight of the best ideas of the past, particularly where they have fallen out of fashion.

The New Media Reader​*​ (ISBN: 978-0-262-23227-2) edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort is a critical volume assembling such classic papers as Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think”, J.C.R. Licklider’s “Man-Computer Symbiosis”, and Douglas Engelbart and William English’s “A Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect” along with complete documents and excerpts from countless other seminal works.​1​

These key references will directly inform the architecture of our information technology infrastructure.

  1. ​*​
    This title was also typeset as theNewMediaReader and comes bundled with a CD ROM of videos demonstrating many of the systems discussed.
  1. 1.
    Wardrip-Fruin N. The New Media Reader. MIT Press; 2003.

Binary Economics: The New Paradigm

The economics of getting a University education have become increasingly problematic over time.

It seems that while our great universities are sitting on mind bogglingly large endowments, they act like giant hedge funds investing in Wall Street rather than their own people.

Meanwhile, each new round of innovation seems to eliminate more jobs than it creates and recent graduates find themselves saddled with monstrous debt and little prospect for employment.

Even if they strike out on their own and found a High Tech Startup, they soon discover that the economics of venture capital markets are optimized to produce a minuscule number of hyper-profitable “unicorns” to maximize short term returns for the VC Fund. This leads most contenders to make a chain of often misguided business decisions that cause the vast majority of them to fail — even if they have sound ideas that would otherwise be able to generate more than adequate revenue to build careers, but for the lack of patient capital.

Moreover, the most currently desirable “exit strategy” of selling one’s technology to a quasi-monopolistic mega-corp, so it can avoid merit based competition, suppresses the widespread adoption of many good ideas — which runs counter to the mission of the University as a Fountainhead of Innovation.

Clearly we need to find better and more humane models of funding higher education and translating the fruits of its research into viable companies that provide our graduates with a comfortable middle class lifestyle and a realistic chance at doing better economically than their parent’s generation.

Robert Ashford and Rodney Shakespeare’s “Binary Economics: The New Paradigm” (ISBN: 0-7618-1320-9)​1​ provides the missing theoretical framework that we need to understand why the American Dream has been slipping away and what we can do restore it, without succumbing to the siren song of socialist wealth redistribution.

Moreover, their model suggests new possibilities for how our University of the Future might structure its funding and spin off ventures for the mutual benefit of its students, faculty, alumni and society at large.

  1. 1.
    Ashford R, Shakespeare R. Binary Economics. University Press of Amer; 1999.

Campus: An American Planning Tradition

As we think about a physical form for our future university there is no better text to start with than the revised paperback edition of Campus: An American Planning Tradition (ISBN: 978-0-262-70032-0).​1​

It provides a comprehensive survey of American Campus design from colonial days to the start of the ’90’s and contains many striking anecdotes along with a fascinating overview of shifting patterns of thought about the roles of culture and curriculum.

  1. 1.
    Venable Turner P. Campus: An American Planning Tradition. Mit Press; 1990.

The University We Need

Cover Art
The University We Need :
Reforming American Higher Education

This is the book that started it all with Professor Treadgold’s compelling arguments for why the time is now ripe to found a new elite University.