These days, I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to download sheet music, academic papers, e-books, recordings, and videos to my heart’s content. With the right keywords, I can find just about everything I want online. Much of the current state of transparency has to do with a change of mindset: making the exclusive inclusive.
In the past, I’ve actively contributed freely downloadable content by uploading and blogging about my own arrangements and compositions (sheet music and audio recordings). However, when domain names expire and not get renewed or when a new webmaster takes over, what used to be free may get lost.
There are several ways to combat the limitations of (lack of) longevity and permanence. Link to the past, populate various free hosts, and actively share and promote.
- Use the Internet Wayback Machine, as I’ve done with my electric vehicle posts.
- Upload documents to sites such as academia.edu, Scribd, IMSLP, and subject-domain specific websites. Of course, I can also upload to my Google drive and share and publish the links on social media. But the real permanence is in the search engine optimization (SEO) of the site, which consists of the keywords, title, and content you include in the description of what you upload.
- Share directly on social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Linked-In.
While working on the electric vehicle project on Maui, I was introduced to the term “public releasable” or “for public release.” Our grant funder stipulated that all reports were not confidential but viewable by the public. This meant we had to write for a bigger readership than whom we represented. With this in mind, we deliberately chose verbiage at the eighth grade reading level to ensure our content would be read and understood.
Despite the concerted effort to reach full transparency, we are still a long way from finding and getting everything we want online. My best search results are found via paid subscriptions and memberships to certain niche libraries. Perhaps these gatekeepers are a legacy from expensive peer-reviewed academic journals. Nevertheless, nothing stops authors from uploading and sharing their content. And I would encourage authors to do so.
Here are my recent uploads to academia.edu:
- Final Management Report, Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance. 2014. 26-page PDF.
- Electric Vehicle Paradise: How Hawaii Can Lead the World in Deployment. 2013. 36-page PDF
- EVs in Paradise: Planning for the Development of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure in Maui County. 2012. 105-page PDF.
- House Concerts for Art Music: multiple stakeholders, audience development, and sustainability. Cultural economics conference paper. 2010. 15-page PDF
- “On Sight-reading” – Thesis for Piano Teaching Diploma. Utrecht Conservatory. 2008. 209-page PDF (omissions)
- “Modelling Uncertainty in Electricity Capacity Planning” – doctoral thesis. University of London. 1995. 472-page PDF