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Anthropology Resource Tool Expands Research Options

Need to expand your research options? Subscribe to the AAA Online Research Library.

The Online Research Library is a fantastic service, but not just for the unaffiliated. The New York Review of Books and The Economist are part of this publications packet. Access to these publications and the hundreds of journals from different disciplines makes broad and deep research efficient even from field sites. This is one of the most exciting services I have seen from any professional association. -Igna

Many applied anthropologists, who do not have access to a college or university library, have found the AAA Online Research Library to be an excellent resource.

As an applied anthropologist without an University affiliation, research journal access is vital to my work. As more anthropologists work in applied settings, this need will only grow. It’s great that the AAA is being proactive in addressing this need. It definitely adds value to my AAA membership. – Betsy

You can review the database list of more than 5,000 titles prior to purchasing unlimited access for one year.

I run a nonprofit, online, participatory, ezine that focuses on human ecology, izilwane.org, and the online research library is very useful to us. Every nonprofit that focuses in any way on anthropology should have access to this library. Having access to this library would allow all nonprofits to spread the word that we anthropologists are not only academics but that we are also out there in the world making a difference. – Tara

Subscribe to the AAA Online Library today!

AAA’s Society for Cultural Anthropology Paves New Way For Anthropological Publishing Program


In its latest efforts to respond to today’s evolving publishing climate the American Anthropological Association (AAA) celebrates the decision by one of its most influential sections to undertake efforts to expand the way its signature journal  is made available to scholars, researchers and the general public.

In 2012 the AAA Executive Board invited its sections to submit creative publishing proposals. The Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA) responded with a proposal to transform Cultural Anthropology to an open access format. The plans, while still under development, will provide Cultural Anthropology at no charge to readers beginning in 2014.

While the publication will soon be available open access via Cultural Anthropology’s website, www.culanth.org, it will also remain available via AAA’s AnthroSource, the premier online portal serving the research, teaching and practicing needs of anthropologists.

AAA is very excited for the opportunity to test this format. This experiment will pave a path for the publishing program to learn best practices and responsible approaches towards a sustainable publishing model.

For additional details, please read the latest SCA press release.

AAA Releases Statement on OSTP memorandum

The U.S. President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently released a policy memorandum directing each Federal agency with over $100 million annually in research expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to federally funded research results. The American Anthropological Association applauds the OSTP’s collaboration-based approach to increasing access by working with the federal research funding agencies, and by encouraging these agencies to embrace the challenges and public interests that are unique to each field. The American Anthropological Association believes that when it comes to increasing access, it is highly appropriate to take into account the knowledge cycle, researchers who are not funded by the Federal Government, and the need to protect sensitive cultural data. Our members look forward to providing meaningful input over the next six months to the agencies’ plans to contribute to innovative breakthroughs through access to scientific data and research findings.

Searching for a program? Looking for an expert?


The American Anthropological Association is delighted to announce its eAnthroGuide online, a directory of more than 800 academic departments; museums; government agencies; nonprofits, NGOs, and foundations; research and consulting firms. To promote study of the discipline, we offer a freely available program search in which students and faculty advisers may look up institutions by Country, State, degree offered, subdisciplinary specialization, internships, and more.

As a benefit of joining AAA, we also offer a more robust search engine of degrees and programs, including searches of 10,000+ anthropological and archaeological specialists. Members may login to use the premium eAnthroGuide to locate subject experts as well as programs. After logging in, look in left-hand menu for eAnthroGuide Members Only Institution Search and eAnthroGuide Members Only Individual Search.

To read more about the print AnthroGuide and its history, go to: http://www.aaanet.org/publications/guide.cfm.

Put Your Program on the Map

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is offering a FREE copy of a prior year’s print AnthroGuide to international organizations who complete a new listing.

What is AAA’s AnthroGuide? The AnthroGuide is the definitive resource to identify anthropologists with particular backgrounds and the only resource for students that aids them in selecting educational programs. Inclusion in the AnthroGuide makes your faculty and staff, degree and/or certificate programs visible to the one thousand subscribers of the AnthroGuide and hundreds of anthropology advisors.

Take a peek inside (click on image to see readable size):

AG interior

How to get your FREE copy? To enter your listing, so you can receive a free copy of the AnthroGuide, please contact Oona Schmid (guide@aaanet.org) for access to the submission portal.

In order to be eligible for a free copy of the AnthroGuide, institutions:

  1. must be primarily anthropological (which includes archaeology, human evolution and origins, and linguistic anthropology);
  2. be situated outside of the United States and Canada;
  3. submit a complete listing with details about your staff and faculty, degrees and certificates;
  4. compose submission in English; and
  5. have not listed in the AnthroGuide previously.

AAA can only send out free AnthroGuides while we have inventory and we will mail out free copies in the order of the listings that are correctly entered and approved, as meeting the eligibility requirements above.

Analysis of the Publishing Program and its Future

The Committee on the Future of Print and Electronic Publishing (CFPEP) in conjunction with the AAA publishing staff just completed a year-long effort to canvass the program and its future. These inquiries were motivated by the recognition that the publishing program as it is currently configured is vulnerable to the changing environment for scholarly publishing. The results include 1) an analysis of AAA’s publishing program by an outside consultant, Raym Crow and 2) the summary of findings from the May 2012 publishing survey. Both documents and a cover memo are being released to AAA membership, in order to help the Association assess its current publishing model and suggest potential alternatives.

This research represents another effort in an ongoing conversation about the future of the publishing program, which has included two sessions at the AAA 2011 Montreal Annual Meeting (see: http://vimeo.com/album/1821564 and http://vimeo.com/album/1814558 to view presentations for which we received permission to record), and an October 2011 Anthropology News article that appeared in the “Association Business” section of the paper.

To access the cover memo, Crow’s report, and the survey findings, current AAA members may login and click on “My Information” (left-hand side). The findings appear under header “AAA Member Documents.” You may need to scroll down to view this area.

CFPEP and its parent committee, the Anthropological Communication Committee, and AAA publishing staff welcome suggestions, ideas, and proposals from any member and they may be submitted to Chelsea Horton of the AAA Publications Office (chorton@aaanet.org) by January 18, 2013.

New Language and Culture Series on Anthropology News

Anthropology News has a new series that is launching this week on language and culture. Check out the latest piece from Jonathan D. Rosa, entitled Contesting Representations of Immigration. This piece is the first in a series of four pieces on the vital issue of immigration from the perspective of linguistic anthropology that will appear over the course of the next week.  It is also the inauguration of a new set of formalized discussions on specific issues related to language and culture.

Here is an excerpt from Rosa’s article:

Ongoing debates about U.S. immigration reform have sparked calls for the media and the public to refrain from using terms like “illegals,” “illegal immigrants,” “illegal aliens,” etc. to refer to unauthorized migrants. As scholars who study the ways that language constitutes culture and vice versa, it is intellectually and ethically imperative for linguistic anthropologists to contribute to this discussion.

Much of the current debate surrounding this issue focuses on whether the term “illegal” is a truthful characterization of certain people’s migration status. For example, in the explanation that accompanied a 2011 update to the Associated Press Stylebook, widely regarded as the U.S. news media industry standard, Deputy Standards Editor David Minthorn suggested that “illegal immigrant” should be the preferred term because it is “accurate and neutral for news stories.” In contrast, organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists have described “illegal immigrant” as a “politically charged” phrase that should be reevaluated for its potential violation of the widely embraced journalistic practice of assuming innocence until guilt is proven. Others have made the related case that “illegal” is at best a misleading generalization, at worst a slur. A person diagnosed with cancer is not described as cancerous; however, “illegal” becomes a way of characterizing not just one’s migration status, but also one’s entire person. This perspective has galvanized a campaign to “Drop the I-Word.”

The “Drop the I-Word” campaign resonates with a central tenet of linguistic anthropology: language is a not merely a passive way of referring to or describing things in the world, but a crucial form of social action. Thus we need to ask: What forms of social action take place in and through popular representations of immigration?

Read the entire article on Anthropology News.

Resource Development Committee Launches the Anthropology Document Portal

Today’s guest blog post is by AAA member, Robert Hahn. Hahn is a committee member of the Resource Development Committee and chair of the Gray Literature subcommittee.

Thanks to generous donations of AAA members to the Resource Development Committee, the AAA has launch an Anthropology Document Portal that will allow anthropologists to archive published and unpublished writings on the electronic storage facilities of the Social Science Research Network, a well-established digital warehouse.  Further notice of how this archive will work has been published in this month’s Anthropology News.  The anthropology section of SSRN, Anthropology and Archaeology Research Network will allow anthropologists to access difficult-to-find publications of colleagues and will provide non anthropologists new access to indexed, searchable anthropological writings.

The SSRN anthropology portal is the first of two projects of the RDC “Gray Literature” subcommittee that has focused on expanding access to hard-to-know-about-and-find anthropological and related literature.  The second project, currently in development, is a set of anthropology-related web links on the AAA resource page that will facilitate member use of the “gray literature” not published or indexed in usual book and journal sources, but available on government and NGO websites, e.g., the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and the World Bank.  These projects should build awareness and access to anthropological research and knowledge within and beyond the discipline.

The RDC is chaired by Louise Lamphere, the Gray Literature subcommittee by Robert Hahn; other subcommittee members are TJ Ferguson, Shirley Fiske, and Oona Schmid (AAA Liaison).

Balancing Print and Online: More Anthropology News in 2013

*The following also appears in the October 2012 (53.8) issue of Anthropology News.

Before the internet, AN was instrumental in communicating deadlines and details, as well as discussing issues through commentaries and letters to the editor. However, the web’s accelerated pace of communication has made print AN content regarding upcoming events out-of-date by the time it gets in our readers’ hands. We also see that some of the most passionate discussions about anthropology occur online, where almost anyone can join the fray. A persistent question in the AN office for several years has been: how can AN remain a relevant resource and member benefit?

In 2011, we launched anthropology-news.org to provide faster publishing and more interactivity with AN essays. In spring 2012, AN conducted its regular readership survey. The previous one was conducted in 2008. In addition to our standard questions about reader satisfaction, we wanted to hear feedback about the best balance between AN in print and anthropology-news.org. We used those responses, as well as AN -related responses from other recent AAA surveys to guide us in moving forward.

2012 Survey Highlights

As in past surveys, members continue to highly value AN. The common refrain was that it helped members stay connected to anthropology overall by seeing what’s going on throughout the discipline. At the same time, many respondents struggled with what the AN editorial office also struggles with: a love of print but an understanding of its high cost for printing and distribution.

Anthropology-news.org is one year old, but we have to improve our communication about its availability, as only 38% of survey respondents had accessed the site at all in the four months before the survey. Numerous comments indicated a willingness to go to the website if they had known about it. Efforts to better communicate anthropology-news.org have begun with AN ’s Twitter feed that launched in May (@news4anthros), share buttons with each online essay, and monthly email alerts about content.

Continuous Online, Bimonthly Print

The challenge for planning AN in 2013 and beyond revolves around the critical need to balance the print-online relationship and develop AN ’s value for members without requiring a larger subsidy from membership. One way to maintain and increase AN ’s value for our members, supported by the survey, is to adjust it to be more visible, more timely, and more interactive than other AAA publications. We are already set up to do this online. When asked about AN print frequency options to help with costs, the most respondents (30%) supported eliminating print AN entirely. The second strongest response was 28% supporting AN in print six times a year. Regarding the current frequency, only 9% indicated support for keeping it at nine times a year.

Starting in January 2013, AN will publish essays and reports online first—and continually—on anthropology-news.org. AN staff will produce twelve thematic series and issues instead of nine. By publishing online first, the site will publish more short thematic series as well and be able to address more timely topics.

The AN print editions will feature the best of these anthropological contributions from the website and matters of record for the association. The print issue will have a bimonthly publishing cycle that runs throughout the calendar year, rather than a generally monthly one with a three-month summer hiatus. This change can also help AAA reach out to our members who work outside of the academy. The six print issues will be published at the beginning of January, March, May, July, September and November.

By flipping the model—online first, print second—we can publish more rich anthropological content in a more timely way with more voices, and then share in print the anthropology essays that turn out the best, spark the most conversation, or are shared the most by readers. This will enhance the AN website as a location for ongoing coverage with an increase in essays and discussions. All content will continue to be archived in AnthroSource.

The print issue will continue to include traditional newsletter content, remaining a conduit for association information. Some content may be published on anthropology-news.org and in print, such as the president’s column, association reports and death notices. These are items that generally do not appear on the AAA website or blog. Other content may be included just in print as part of the AAA historical record: election results, board minutes, donor recognition.

New AN

With this shift in AN’s publishing schedule, I’m also implementing a few editorial changes.

First, AN will increase to 12 issues per year at anthropology-news.org and on AnthroSource. Each issue will include all the main content (calendar and items from the right-hand sidebar omitted) published on anthropology-news.org in that calendar month. Essays (whether Opinion or In Focus pieces) will be selected for the print based on web metrics regarding usage, user feedback via online ratings and shares, pingbacks, discussion, and overall quality and length of the piece.

Content on anthropology-news.org will continue to be publically available, open access to all. To accommodate the flipped publishing schedule and to conserve server space, online content will be open for approximately four months, rather than the current two months.

For annual meeting information, AN will continue to inform members about the annual meeting city, deadlines, major events, and the call for proposals. However, some information, such as time and locations of specific sessions, benefits from more accurate and up-to-date information by being available only online. We have already been encouraging section and committee editors to disseminate such details through their online AN columns and listservs to limit out-of-date information in print AN.

Section News will also change. Section editors will contribute columns online at anthropology-news.org, and may do so as often as any individual contributing editor would like. As with the other essays, those columns with a focus on anthropological work, commentary or analysis may be selected for any print issue. AN is also setting aside space for Section News three times a year specifically in print: in the March, July and November print issues. The survey indicates that members do not find print AN the primary way to advertise upcoming events or to remain in touch with their sections. Furthermore, 67% of respondents indicated strong support for having section columns online only. The primary means of communication for section meeting details should be through listservs and other online communication.

In addition to being able to publish at any time on anthropology-news.org, contributing editors and columnists will be given a higher word count for their regular columns. Each column can be up to 1,000 words, as opposed to the strict current limit of 700 words for print columns. Any column pulled from the website for print publication may be up to 1,000. And each of the three print columns Sections have per year may also be up to 1,000 words.

This new publishing schedule will help allow AN to reach out to more people, in a more timely, relevant way. We developed anthropology-news.org to facilitate the publication and sharing of essays about all facets of anthropology with anthropologists, and help raise the profile of anthropology among potential anthropologists, media and the general public.

As I write this, AN has a new essay on the website by Harjant Gill called “Unthreatening the Sikh Turban.” The lead-in is about the shootings at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5. The essay shares insight only an anthropologist (or possibly a folklorist) could articulate. There will be more breaking news stories that could use the anthropological lens. AN is here to help you share that with members and the public.

Anthropology News


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