The New Anthrosource

is here.

I would say something about it, but I would have to stop sobbing uncontrollably.


Christopher M. Kelty is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.

27 thoughts on “The New Anthrosource

  1. For me it was the ineffectiveness of full text searches. Apparently you can’t find articles by just typing the title and author into the search tool. Can they please change it back… I have research to do!

  2. Yes, the broken links are very frustrating. This includes links from Google Scholar and my library’s website. Is that something that needs to be fixed on the anthrosource end?

  3. Before the devolution of Anthrosource from Web 1.0 to Web 0.25 I had been compulsively navigating been JSTOR and Anthrosource in the cases in which only JSTOR provided access to the article and only Anthrosource provided a DOI, as I was laboring under the impression that the raison d’être of the DOI system was to provide a digital point of reference stable enough that it could even be inserted in published works if need be. But now my Anthrosource DOIs don’t work. Oh joy.

  4. Well, it’s ugly, and cumbersome. You can search for title/author, but only as an advanced search. This will take some getting used to, since it’s not as useful or intuitive as it once was. The note on the front page says they are “resolving several content and linking issues with the new AnthroSource.” I think I’ll stick to other ways of searching until this gets a little more polished.

  5. I think the new incarnation of anthrosource is proof that the American Anthropological Association has no idea what they are doing in relation to their web presence. Graphically, anthrosource looks much like a search engine from the late 90’s or 2000’s. The new incarnation removed features that most academic databases need to have (e.g. the ability to preview the first page of an article, lists of other works in the database that cite a given article, etc.). Functionality of certain parts of the search function has been eliminated (e.g. the author part of advanced search only allows for last names. What happens when you are looking for a common name like Smith or Brown). If this is represents the changes that will be coming because of Wiley Blackwell then we are in trouble.

  6. Its obviously just a fig leaf. The canonical version is now at Wiley, and they’ve provided the AAA a pass-through to their site called ‘anthrosource.’

    Anyone want to guess how many years it will be before the AAA starts offering “reduced rates” on subscriptions to “Wiley-Blackwell Journals” and start selling our own work back to us? Three? Five?

  7. “I think the new incarnation of anthrosource is proof that the American Anthropological Association has no idea what they are doing in relation to their web presence.”

    I’ll second that. What are they doing??? Why is the AAA heading in the absolute wrong direction when it comes to this???

    Rex wrote:

    “Anyone want to guess how many years it will be before the AAA starts offering “reduced rates” on subscriptions to “Wiley-Blackwell Journals” and start selling our own work back to us? Three? Five?”

    That’s just sad. It’s probably less…

  8. The most frustrating thing for me is that I used to search anthrosource via Google, but all those Google links fail to resolve now. The second best alternative seems to be the special Google CrossRef search, but that includes a lot of non-anthropological journals. I spent an hour or so trying to figure out some way of only searching anthropology journals on Google, but I couldn’t figure it out. Anyone else have any ideas? (It would be nice if the AAA did this, but they clearly don’t have the ability or the interest.)

  9. I assume Google will fix the broken links even if AAA/Wiley won’t, but it still sucks. And looks awful. And hasn’t fixed the previous problem of never recognizing my login information. And and and. They hired an outside person to work on this – can we find out who and demand our money back?

    On the other hand, I think we can get at this stuff through the regular Wiley site, which has a sort of footnote about anthrosource. For what that’s worth.

  10. A librarian mentioned that he’d heard that institutional subscription rates for the AAA publications had increased dramatically under the new Wiley regime. Has anyone heard likewise? If so, this is happening at a moment when university libraries, hammered by the market crash and recession, will be forced to cut back journal subscriptions as fast as their multi-year contracts allow. When the smoke clears, will AAA publications end up disappearing from scores of major libraries?

  11. This is such a disappointment! Not only can are the links broken and searching no longer works, but when trying to access certain articles I theoretically have access to with the AAA subscription, Wiley informs me I cannot access them and asks for a password.

    How I miss the old, dotty Anthrosource platform…

  12. I was thinking about this a little more and a strange thought occurred to me. The AAA architects of the deal with Wiley-Blackwell might have received some sort of personal benefit from the deal. I stress the word “might” here since this is all speculation but I do not see what benefit the AAA (or its membership) gets from the deal. Back when the deal with Wiley-Blackwell was announced, there was a lot of people wondered why the deal existed in place in the first place. Many people criticized the transparency of the decision and noted that the AAA membership would not gain anything from such a deal. I think that the various predictions of negative consequences have borne out and I do not understand how the creators of the original deal could not have predicted these outcomes.

    I am not saying that bribery or something illegal occurred but it is possible that things like consideration (and fast tracking) of book deals or other “soft” benefits have accrued to those in the AAA who are responsible for this mess. It would be interesting to see how various individuals in the AAA leadership (or who were in the leadership at the time of the deal) have benefited from this deal. Maybe there is nothing there, but if there is something going on, it needs to be exposed.

    Note: I want to stress again that this is largely speculation and that I have no knowledge of any unethical behavior in regards to the Wiley-Blackwell deal and the changes related to anthrosource.

  13. Maybe an officer of the AAA will speak up here, but I think that this will not happen for reasons of policy. As an editor, I cannot really say much but I will note in response to Grad Student Guy that I have had a second row seat for these developments and that I have always asked a lot of questions and studied relevant documents as closely as I could. I am completely certain that individual benefits are not a matter of concern. (At least not in anything like the sense that you are contemplating.) For an easy source of information on the benefits to the AAA of the Wiley-Blackwell deal, one can consult a treasurer of a journal publishing section. After several years of stress, they were largely happy at the meetings this year because the sections are now making money rather than spending it on the production of their journals. There is a vast amount to discuss and debate about the future of scholarly communications in anthropology, but I do not think that AAA policy makers were being self-serving.

    Beyond offering this thought, I am going to follow Chris’ lead and not talk about it.

  14. Has anyone stepped back and asked how anthropology as a discipline is served by online reference sources compared to other disciplines? And following from that question, what can or should the AAA do to help? I tried to do some searching in the literature in geography and in history a while back, and neither field had anything like Anthropology Plus (a database I use all the time). But shouldn’t the AAA take some responsibility for assessing and promoting online resources in our discipline?

    If one divides archaeology into anthropological vs. classical archaeology, the classicists are WAY AHEAD in online sources, data, applications, etc.

  15. I’m so glad to see this posted here as I’ve been in the midst of a series of frustrated e-mails back and forth with Wiley/AAA. I would urge others to write, cc’ing both the Wiley address and the AAA members address. Here’s an excerpt from the first part of my first e-mail which at least drew a very apologetic response:

    1) All existing links are now broken. This means that google scholar results simply resolve to an error message indicating the page can’t be found. Thousands of users who might have found Anthrosource results via google scholar now receive error messages instead. This can hardly help the profile of our scholarship.

    It’s also a problem for anyone who has saved URLs in citation management software (EndNote, BibDesk, etc.). One of my graduate students was midway through her comprehensive exams when the new site was launched, and discovered in the midst of preparing her essay that none of the links she had saved to Anthrosource articles worked any more.

    It’s particularly frustrating that the DOI links don’t work (at least for any articles published prior to 2008). The aim of DOI (see ) was to create a persistent linking system that would continue to work even if the location of a resource changed. Even DOIs in refs. downloaded from the new Wiley site don’t work (e.g. ).

    I can’t overstate how unprofessional this is. I worked in web design in the late 1990s and it was drilled into us (to the point where a colleague nearly lost their job for forgetting) that if you change a URL, you must always provide a redirect so that existing bookmarks will continue to work.

  16. In addition, the full text search seems to be broken, only searching titles.

    e.g. If I do an advanced search for

    All of the words: johnson earle

    Search for my words: anywhere in the article

    I only get a single result – results URL is

    and the result is an article with both johnson and earle in the title.

    If I do an advanced search for these terms in full text in JSTOR, JSTOR finds 130 results; of these 33 are from issues of the American Anthropologist from 1997 onward, indicating that JSTOR is able to find results that Anthrosource should find but isn’t.

  17. Oops…on further testing the bookmarklet doesn’t work consistently…can you hold off on posting that comment?

  18. It seems (based on my limited tests) that at least some of the linking problems from are now fixed. But Google is still broken and this bookmarklet seems to fix the google links. Thanks!

    (You are right about how unprofessional the transition has been. They should have made sure everything worked first before making the new site live.)

  19. It looks like they’ve at least fixed the links problem. Yesterday I wasn’t able to access anthrosource from my uni library but I just went there now and found the links are working again. Don’t know if the search functionality has improved.

  20. Hi, gang. Just wanted to let you know that your colleagues who are involved in building AnthroSource are keen to hear your feedback.

    As you know, AnthroSource is being transitioned onto an entirely new platform. The AAA Publications office, Wiley-Blackwell, and our CFPEP committee are all working hard to complete this enormous task, which only started last month.

    As you have noticed by now, they’ve already addressed a number of these issues, and are aggressively resolving the rest — see Dion’s report here:

    No, we don’t have all the answers, and this is new to all of us, so please try to be as constructive as possible, and do send your comments directly to us (best contact is Dion Dears at the AAA) so we can address them quickly!

    The main place to watch for AS updates is in the publications area of the AAA web site, here:


    Hugh Jarvis

    (member of CFPEP = the Cmt on the Future of Print & Electronic Publishing)

  21. Links still not working from jstor or google scholar. It is incompetence beyond belief that these things were not thought through before the switchover. I don’t think this is a matter of a minor teething difficulty, it is a fundamental breakdown of the resource. As I am not American, I am not subject to the AAA as my professional body, I am just a (dissatisfied) customer consuming its products. However, if I was in America, this would raise serious questions about whether the AAA was fit for purpose.

    These may sound like harsh words, but the time to work out these issues is BEFORE implementing a switchover, not afterwards – unless, of course, such a switchover was forced upon the AAA by the publisher without due notice (which raises a whole seperate questions about AAA and its publishing activities).

  22. You know, most of these mistakes are ones that I would have made if I was running a scholarly society with several thousand members and a hundred years of publications to keep track of. It would be really hard to do this right.

    The reason I can’t stop crying is that this isn’t being done by one person. It’s being done by a large “professional” organization that has *at least* 25 paid members (and this does not include the volunteer academics who “govern” the AAA). This year, I contributed some $400 to this organization, which boasts 11,000 members. Let’s be conservative and say only half of those members pay anything like what I do. That equals 2.2 million dollars a year. It’s not much, really, but it is about two million dollars a year more than it should cost to hire a professional or two who can do something simple like test whether links are broken.

    Whatever is going on here, it involves a massive, inexcusable waste of money. So, I think I’m done giving money to the AAA. I would urge people for whom the AAA is truly an important entity to take note of these failures and continue to write and complain, and to point out that some academics just no longer see any reason to continue being a member. As for me, I think I need to pick my battles, and this may well be the end of my battles here.

  23. One of the most articulate anthropologists in our community, one who knows a truly vast amount about the workings of the most technologically complex corners of our world, and of our discipline, has just indicated that he is ready to abandon engaging with the AAA. If he takes this path, he will be joining an exodus that was sadly already underway for reasons similar to those that Chris evokes. I find this dynamic, which really crystallized in my view several years ago in connection with earlier phases in the debate over AnthroSource, to be really disturbing. It is noteworthy to me in this instance that Chris’ comment is so unsurprising to his public here that nobody has even commented upon it.

    In a forward looking mode, Chris (re-)prompts a potential discussion of the forms that anthropological networks and institutions may take in the years ahead. Fostering such a discussion was one purpose behind Kelty et al. (2008) ( )

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