April 15, 2010                                                                                 

AMHERST, Mass. – On Monday, April 26, at 4 p.m., Amherst College Croxton Lecturer David Bollier will discuss “Academia as a Commons: The Promise of Digital Technologies at Amherst College and the Five Colleges” in the Periodicals Area of the school’s Frost Library. The talk is free and open to the public.

According to Bollier, if academia is a commons—a system of community stewardship of shared resources—then the Internet and digital technologies offer unparalleled opportunities for improving scholarly collaboration, innovative research and access to knowledge. Some of the most powerful tools include free and open source software, Creative Commons licenses, open-access scholarly journals, “open courseware” and “open textbooks,” new types of database commons, wikis and collaborative archives and institutional repositories hosted by college libraries.

Bollier will speak about the rich potential of these new systems for invigorating the academic commons at Amherst and the Five Colleges. He will also consider the many technical barriers, copyright limitations and disciplinary norms and habits that can stifle the development of new types of academic commons. 

An author, activist and scholar of the commons, Bollier is the founding editor of Onthecommons.org, the co-founder of the Washington public-interest organization Public Knowledge and the author of nine books, including, most recently, Viral Spiral:  How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own. 

Copies of Viral Spiral will be available for purchase, courtesy of Amherst Books, at the April 26 talk.