4.0504 Computers for Faculty (1/30)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 18 Sep 90 23:07:27 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0504. Tuesday, 18 Sep 1990.

Date: Thu, 13 Sep 90 18:28:40 -0700
From: Malcolm Brown <mbb@jessica.stanford.edu>
Subject: Computers for Faculty

Gee, I wonder if any of our historians' feelings would be
hurt if they knew that Yale looks askance at the Stanford

Anyway, here's a *true story* from Stanford.
Curiously enough, at a meeting of our faculty senate a
few months ago, a faculty committee was delivering
a report on academic computing. When it was suggested
that Stanford's humanities faculty were somewhat behind
the times in computing (true in the sense they're all
using old 8088 PCs, a situation soon to change), the
very chair of the history department stood up to say
he didn't need a computer to come between his mind and
his texts. Harumph.

Although his is a minority opinion, it is interesting to
consider if the computer could be an *impediment* rather than
an assitance to research. Certainly there are times
when we can't get the silly box to boot or do something
we want, but might there be a deeper sense in which the
computer is an impediment to research?

I personally find it difficult to think of the computer
as an impediment, as long as one doesn't forget that the
computer is a research *tool* and not some kind of a
research performing device.

Malcolm Brown