Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, April 27, 2009

OA clichés

Higher Ed Tag Lines is a five year old database newly converted to OA by its compiler, the Richard Harrison Bailey Agency

Thanks to Don Troop in the Chronicle of Higher Education, who offers this background:

...The database is the brainchild of Rick Bailey, principal of Richard Harrison Bailey/the Agency, a marketing firm that, among other things, writes tag lines for institutional clients.

Mr. Bailey says his agency started tracking college tag lines about a decade ago to avoid duplicating any already in use. Five years later the firm began collecting them and shoveling them into the database.

Somewhere along the way, he had an open-source epiphany. "We were sitting on this wonderful piece of information," he says. "We thought, 'It's a shame we're keeping this for ourselves.'"

Now the site is open to any institution that wants to add its own tag line....

The best tag lines, says Mr. Bailey, are simply discovered on a campus, perhaps overheard among students....

The worst are the clichés. He cites the classic groaner, "A Tradition of Excellence," which shows up six times in the database....

Comment.  This isn't the human genome project.  What's blogworthy here is not the value of the content for research (though historians and anthropologists should take a look), but Bailey's realization that he had no reason to keep his offline database to himself and that others might enjoy it.  Sometimes you need to hear a strong argument.  But sometimes it's enough just to ask, "why not OA?"

BTW, not a single institution in the database uses the word "sharing" in its tagline.