10.10 citation and impermanence

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Thu, 9 May 1996 19:24:56 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 10.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Stephan Khinoy <skhinoy@nyc.pipeline.com> (8)
Subject: Re: 10.4 citing Web documents

[2] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@utoronto.ca> (14)
Subject: leading or pulling the parade?

[3] From: "DONALD A. COLEMAN (EXT. 2850)" (4)
Subject: Re: Impermanence

Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 23:47:46 GMT
From: Stephan Khinoy <skhinoy@nyc.pipeline.com>
Subject: Re: 10.4 citing Web documents

We can already cite ephemeral sources of information: "unpublished paper,"
"personal communication," and the like. When we post electronically, we
have to be sure to list some actual-world coordinates like academic
address, and we should be considerate in citing *our* sources and how we
have treated them.
In that way, when someone cites us, it will be a responsible citation.

Stephan Khinoy 

--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------ Date: Thu, 9 May 1996 00:11:53 -0400 From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@utoronto.ca> Subject: leading or pulling the parade?

Opposition being true friendship, I am glad for Peter Graham's critical response in Humanist 10.8 to my notion that the e-medium, now transitory, should be used for transitory things. He says that I appear "too easily to accept what presents itself as the current reality; I think it's important to lead the parade in the right direction rather than just join it." This points to the question I was attempting to raise: when are we leading this parade, and when are we stubbornly forcing it to go contrary to its own genius, pulling it along against its will? I think it's important to feel the contrary tug, the essential resistance to our insensitive commandeering of one thing to be something else that it is not. I guess what Peter would say is that it's just as important to feel the cooperative willingness to follow. I think of the exercise known as "push hands" in Tai Chi Chuan.

I am raising the question: which are we doing now in our efforts to make the electronic medium more permanent?


--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------ Date: Thu, 09 May 1996 13:19:10 -0500 (EST) From: "DONALD A. COLEMAN (EXT. 2850)" <DACOLEMAN@fair1.fairfield.edu> Subject: Re: Impermanence

All interests Humanists:

I hope no one will be disappointed to find a message like this one in the e-mail sack; assuredly it could seem like idle fantasy rather than responsible argument. All the same, the messages I've just been reading raise again in my mind a question which I've sometimes found myself asking: what do we of this scientized era suppose that future antiquarians a re going to do whith our scientized archives when the science that alone makes them useable has long since been forgotten? I think that at present a sort of evolutionist fabrication exists--indeed, a notion fashioned out of whole cloth--to the effect that science once done cannot be undone: that people in *our* future simply *couldn't* be antiquarians and, at the same time, have chosen classical understandings and a simple life over a world fashioned in the image and under the aegis of scientific technology. We have half a chance of deciphering the Dead Sea Scrolls because we've had the wisdom to preserve, at least in some measure, the crafts of reading and writing, whose dependence on science is negligible. But if we ourselves can preserve our achievements only in ways radically dependent on science, do we not run the risk of depriving future civilizations of those achievements?

I think that we can use science as an invaluable aid in preserving what we judge to be valuable, but I also think that in so doing we need to use wisdom. We need to provide access to the good things we have on the broadest possible terms.