When taking a library science class, I think it is pretty typical to not know what to expect. After all, the science I have done in the past consists of physics, chemistry, and biology. And previously, the library has just been a place for me to study. However, in this library science course I quickly found out what it was all about, as cramming this many skills into half of a semester really requires you to essentially be thrown into the fire right from the get-go.
That being said, there were many things that I took away from this course. Right off the bat, I learned about Aaron Schwartz and the whole world of internet activism. I had been completely blind to the whole world of how information was essentially privileged. And privileged to those who have money. I had never thought of this before as being an undergraduate student, I have always had access to this information. Reading and watching videos about this led to me questioning the ethics behind it. Initially, when I heard that people had to pay for information that scientists and researchers had spent years compiling, I thought it made sense. Capitalism, right? However, as I read further about Aaron Schwartz, and how the whole process worked as a whole, I totally changed my opinion.
The primary reason that my opinion changed is because I believe the system is broken. I hold this opinion because it is the government who funds these researchers, and then allows the information to be locked up behind pay walls. If it were these corporations paying the researchers to do the research, while I would not agree ethically with locking the information away, it would make more sense to me. However, as the government is funding them, I do not see why the information is not then returned to the government to be distributed for free, for the good of the people not just in the United States, but all over the world.
This is undoubtedly my biggest takeaway from this class, the scholarly research process, and the privatization of knowledge. Through taking this course, those topics went from not even existing in my mind, to serious ethical issues with tangible consequences in today’s world. When looking into the future, I just wonder what, if anything, will be done about this process. I wonder how far internet activism can go. And what it would mean from the top down, from the government to the corporations to the people. I wonder what the future of scholarly research holds.