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November 26, 2008

Comments

Remember some of the more rhapsodic treatises on the hyperlink written by Humanities folks in the mid-90s? And the subsequent attempts at non-linear presentations of narratives?

Some of that stuff was rather silly in retrospect.

But I think that simply porting over the journal article form from page to screen isn't going to work, but at the same time, there also needs to be room for long-form, well-reasoned and footnoted critical work.

In addition, there are all sorts of opportunities with indexing, tagging, database mining, the semantic Web, etc.

I'm no expert on any of that. But the more experience I accumulate as an amateur lit-crit blogger, the more I think that the part of the value of electronic scholarship is going to need to come from collecting and presenting and discussing data that's more formal than blogging, but that doesn't take as long as the journal publication cycle. And that there's got to be a bit of a PR element to it. By that, I don't mean spin and gloss, but rather a packaging of aspects to the work that makes it easier for interested parties to find and then engage in the scholarly conversation.

Great comments, William. I hope to hear from you again later in this series when I discuss various "born digital" modes of humanities scholarship--including some of the semantic discovery tools and design aspects you allude to. I think you are right about something that is beyond blogging in formality but not back to the traditional mode that loses the advantages of electronic mediation through long form, lack of linking, or long delays.

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