11.0296 the value of face-to-face

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 25 Sep 1997 23:32:20 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 296.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Thu, 25 Sep 1997 11:25:49 +0100 (BST)
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: the value of face-to-face

Liking nothing better than to provoke a good scrap, I offer the following
somewhat edited extract from a note I just received. The author begins by
offering his opinion on the utility of our humanities computing associations....

On the question of associations... they are all... anomalies in their
present form. They should exist via the Internet. There is no money for
physical activities such as travelling across [the country], and they should
be able to exist without as much as they would need to continue in their
present form. It's like the users groups which flourished ... in the days of
mainframe computing, when one had to go to the [physics building] to see if
there was any printout beyond the pages of JCL, when [the computing centre]
was a hive of direct-contact activity and when [technical experts] could
captivate a large audience with tales of how it was practically impossible
to destroy data on a 5 1/4 floppy despite stomping on it in hobnail boots or
soaking it in treacle. Humanities computing is now carried out by
individuals at their individual work-stations, mostly at home, who
communicate with each other by e-mail. The answer to the desire to have
physical contact is not to focus on computing but on [beer]. The mention of
Oxford choristers [in your message] makes me think that Inspector Morse has
the right idea: go to the pub and have a pint.... The distance equivalent to
a pint is not expensive travel and physical publication, but e-mail and the WWW.



Dr. Willard McCarty
Senior Lecturer, Centre for Computing in the Humanities
King's College London
London WC2R 2LS
+44 (0)171 873 2784 voice; 873 5081 fax

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