The Long Tail is a vital concept for understanding attention dynamics in the digital age; it will be as vital for scholarship as it is already becoming for online business. The specialty knowledge of scholarship is ideally suited to the power curve distribution of the Long Tail, as I will explain, but unfortunately, academia's entrenched communication system isolates and slows the ready circulation of information so fundamental to Long Tail dynamics. This must change; scholarship must be retooled for the Long Tail of knowledge.
As digital modes of communicating knowledge edge out the print-based publishing, any learned communication that is not made to scale will shrink in its audiences and relevance, whereas scholarship that embraces scalability will be far more dynamic, flexible, and responsive -- a manifestly superior mode of knowledge.
Scholars can hop on board the moving train of mobile computing, or they can stay in their silos and listen to the whine of the doppler effect as the masses with smart phones use those devices in ways more sophisticated than any system based on closed publication and isolated expertise. Scholarship needs to become mobile to survive.