8.0151 Rs: Multimedia Research (1/34)

Wed, 24 Aug 1994 18:03:52 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 8, No. 0151. Wednesday, 24 Aug 1994.

Date: Fri, 12 Aug 1994 09:38:57 +0600
From: rob@PSULIAS.BITNET (Roger Brisson)
Subject: Re:Future of Multimedia Research?

I think we are already moving beyond the phase where multimedia/CD-ROM
products are just simply 'wowing' us as snazzy textbooks. As I'm sure those
who have worked on these projects know, putting together the thousands of
pieces of primary source material (be it visual or textual) that typically
make up one of these products takes tremendous amount of time and effort.
The past few years have been devoted to laboriously getting these materials
together to produce the CD-ROM products now being made available. But the
onslaught of announcements of new or upcoming products that we're now
receiving attests to the rapid development that this field is experiencing.
While many are still hesitating to use such superlatives, I believe that
having this primary source material at one's fingertips will revolutionize
scholarly research in the humanities and social science. This revolution
will be experienced by student and researcher alike. When I first began
exploring Eli Mylonas's Perseus, I thought back on my years as a student
studying Ancient History, tediously looking for some Theran vase, for some
passage in Euripides, or a plan of the temple site on Delos. It didn't take
long to recognize what Perseus would do to the study of Classical Greece!
At the very least it will allow us to find material much more quickly than
in the past, But it will also do more: as searching software becomes more
sophisticated, as Windows allows us to organize and structure this material
in an increasingly complex manner, we will be able to compare material and
to establish relationships that no one previously suspected. We will be
able to visualize the past in ways that could only have been dreamt of by
earlier generations of scholars. I don't see this as happening in some
still distant future; with the release of Windows 4.0 (based on 32-bit
architecture), the already competitive market for Pentium-based machines,
and of course the growing body of CD-ROM based primary source material,
multimedia/CD-ROM will continue to undergo rapid development and to quickly
mature as an vital resource in humanities-based research.

Roger Brisson
Penn State University