Seth Godin wants a world
in which students simply provide a list of ISBNs with every essay, and readers or teachers use an online service to convert this data into full bibliographical information should they so wish.
He also lists the following barriers to change:
- The teacher will argue that learning to write biographies is part of literacy
- The professor won't want to be the first to end the tradition
- The student won't want to risk a grade by breaking the system
The solution: reduce the change required of teachers, professors and students. Often this is the key to accelerating change.
The online service should allow the user to create an unstructured list of sources that can be exported in any presentation format from an APA-style bibliography to a list of ISBNs, and in any file format from RTF to a single permanent URL. Initially, students would use the service to create traditional bibliographies that they'd copy-paste into their reports. Soon, they'd start experimenting with other uses.
A quick search throws up a range of bibliography services that offer some but not all of the functionality described above, including EasyBib
. One can also imagine the people behind isbn.nu
, Google Books
providing much of the technology for any new venture in this area.