Otaku Academy

Rant: school libraries and DRM

Most of you know that I’m at work on a Master’s thesis. This thesis involves anime, cyborg theory, and fan culture. It involves reading a lot of Henry Jenkins, Donna Haraway, Susan J. Napier, and other big names. Having finally finished my chapter on FMA and cognitive narratology (not to my satisfaction, but that’s another story), I have begun gathering resources and drawing up outlines for the next — which is on anime fandom and the spectre of Orientalism.

Last year I took a great course on the making of Asian Studies, and it contained a fantastic book by Robert Young called White Mythologies: Writing History and the West. My university library has a couple of deadwood editions of the book, and one electronic version. How long can I download the book for?


Yeah. Three days. Because grad students can get all their reading and citing done in that amount of time. Right.

Not only is this an especially unrealistic expectation, it’s an unfair one: if I march all the way to the library and reserve a pulp copy, my grad student status grants me a six-week hold. That’s a hell of a lot longer than three measly days. If the school insists on DRM, why not grant me use of the file for the same amount of time that I would be allowed for the use of a paper copy?

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