The Information Commons/Future

Universities have a mission to create, preserve and disseminate knowledge. In addressing that mission, academicians should take care to preserve and strengthen the information commons, that shared wellspring of ideas and innovation from which all may freely draw.

Today, the information commons and the university community that relies on it are confronting stresses from both inside and outside the university, such as squabbles over who owns academic work, technologies for restricting the dissemination of knowledge and the impact of increasingly stringent and far-reaching intellectual property laws. Lecture March 24, 2005 by Hal Abelson professor of computer science and engineering at MIT.

New technologies offer unprecedented possibilities for human creativity, global communication, and access to information. Yet digital technology also invites new forms of information enclosure. In the last decade, information providers have deployed new methods of control that undermine the public’s traditional rights to use, share, and reproduce information and ideas. At state in today’s debates about the future of information access is not only the availability and affordability of information, but also the very basis on which citizens’ and scholars’ information needs are met.[1]

To counter enclosure of the commons, librarians, scholars and other public interest advocates have sought alternative ways to expand access to the wealth of resources over the internet, and have begin to build online communities, or “knowledge commons,” for producing and sharing information, creative works, and democratic discussion. [1]

Because of the low cost of using information commons to both utilize as well as spread needed information, more colleges are now turning to this platform as a means of cutting tuition costs for their students. [2]

References edit

  1. a b Nancy Kranich. Countering Enclosure. Reclaiming the Knowledge Commons. In: Understanding Knowledge as a Commons. From Theory to Practice. Eds. Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, MIT Press, December 2006, pbk edition 2011, pp. 85-122.
  2. Joanne Jacobs. Open-Source Textbooks Most Affordable for Community College Students. US News & World Report.