👀 JSTOR Fun
#273 | Let's get Academic
This isn't the key to some dimly lit basement where communists gather to plan the demise of the capitalist state.
- I'm not sharing that key with you.
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Jadavpur University students who attended between 2014 and 2019 will know what this is immediately - but for the rest of you, let me explain.
This is the ID and password we used to log in to JSTOR, a repository of primary sources, books and academic journals used worldwide. Our go-to for research papers to cite in our immature undergrad papers and, eventually, our slightly more mature postgrad theses. Our university had an official account, of course, but it could only be accessed through computers at the Central Library.
But we wanted to access JSTOR from class, during our commutes, homes, and beds even, and these were the credentials we used. Some kind soul before our time "hacked" into the account owned by a high school (initials A.B.R.H.S.) in America. The access information had spread like wildfire. There was even a rumour that someone thanked the high school administration in their thesis acknowledgement for unknowingly playing such a significant part in their academic career.
It's been 4 years since I left university - current students don't log into JSTOR with these credentials anymore. They probably use a different key, retrieved from another oblivious American high school.
I don't log in to JSTOR anymore, obviously.
However, I do read JSTOR Daily, where researchers and writers take material from the journals and open-access print collections on JSTOR and contextualise them for general readers in lucid prose.
Like this article that traces the arrival and eventual assimilation of groups of Africans in the Indian subcontinent, whose descendants continue to live in some Indian states. Or this one on the dynamic magazines published by lesbian groups in Berlin in the 1920s.
They also have a segment where they annotate historically and/or presently significant public documents, (such as the Paris Agreement at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference), living up to their tagline: "where news meets its scholarly match".
With JSTOR Daily, you never know what you'll learn. And the best part? No key required. Just like this Thing you're reading, it's free and open to all.
What are you waiting for?