It is an interesting thing to blog about the discussion that took place during the Ramsay,
Rockwell, and Drucker portion of our class on Tuesday. It is interesting because 1. we’ve
already talked at length about them, 2. I was the one presenting, and 3. what is my intention
in blogging? I could blog about the experience of being part of the discussion, or I could
blog about reading the chapters, or I could blog about what discussion did NOT take place—
my own thoughts in regards to discussion that (as facilitator) I withheld from sharing.
I’ll blog about the latter.
I find no problem giving scholarship “status” to builders, coders, and hackers—beginning
with their reaching the criteria set forth by Ramsay and Rockwell. The builders should get
scholarly credit (if that is what they desire), because building a site to facilitate a scholarly
vision/need requires close collaboration with the traditional scholar. Coders should get
scholarly credit, among other reasons (that depend on one’s personal definition of coders),
for any and all innovation involving code or the process of coding—advancing their field,
if you will. Hackers fall into this last example, generally (if I understand “hackers” correctly),
as they “hack” others’ coding/work, adapt it and do something new or different with it.
It’s kind of like what Dr. Ian Malcom chastised John Hammond about in Jurassic Park,
something to the tune of: “You didn’t figure it out for yourself—you stood on the minds
(and research) of giants and took the next step. You didn’t develop a respect for the research.”
(That’s a gross paraphrase—I’ll throw up the clip if I can find it.)
That I am of the “younger generation” of scholars certainly makes a difference—computers
and computer savvy coders have always been a part of my educational experience . . . even
though my family didn’t get an internet capable computer until I was in sixth or seventh grade.
I can also see the merit of what is being done with the digital humanities—especially when
it attempts to replicate the safe-guarding ideals of peer review. (I’ll blog about NINES.org
Drucker’s idea of “where is the theory? Why isn’t there ambiguity?” (again, paraphrase)
fits Brandon’s statement best: everyone’s asking for more—don’t worry, it’s on it’s way.
We don’t know how to best use the technology in new and truly innovative ways—but we’re
asking for those innovations, so they’ll come. We just have to be patient.
In terms of those innovations, I look to the rest of technology for a template. I once read
(I think in a Michael Crichton novel, as it turns out) that Americans are always looking for
the next big thing, and work to create it out of the blue—trying to leap from innovation to
innovation. But the Japanese, in contrast, work to improve in small steps, quietly and consistently
building toward the next step.
Whether or not that statement is true (and I have absolutely NO evidence that it is), it
brings up two legitimate schools of thought. Both need to happen, and would benefit from
[Here's the Jurassic Park clip. The relevant dialogue is over by the half-way point.]