13.0378 what's interesting about Web pages?

From: Humanist Discussion Group (willard@lists.village.virginia.edu)
Date: Sun Feb 06 2000 - 09:46:35 CUT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 378.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2000 09:43:00 +0000
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: what's interesting about Web pages?

    This is the situation. Two people are given the task of assessing a
    student's Web page, one of them a tutor in the subject area that the page
    addresses, the other a tutor in humanities computing. My question is, what
    criteria does the latter person employ? What from a humanities computing
    perspective makes the page academically interesting -- or not?

    There are ancillary questions too. How time-dependent are these criteria?
    If, as I have observed, they are time-dependent, then let us project into
    the future a few years and ask the same question with which I began. In
    five years' time, say, will a Web page be -- from a humanities computing
    perspective -- at all interesting? If so, where will the interest lie? Of
    course there's the question of whether anyone will be writing Web pages
    then, and what metalanguage they will be using, but for purposes of
    discussion let's say that the Web is still current, and let us further
    stipulate that HTML is the metalanguage and that it stays more or less the

    If we humanities computing people are creatures of the technological
    frontier, then where is that frontier now? Unless I am badly mistaken (it
    happens :-), one patch of the current frontier is in the deployment of live
    data within an argument or other discursive prose. (Envision, if you will,
    reading someone's argument in which he or she, rather than give a footnote
    or a quotation, supplies a link to an online database. Envision further not
    just the thrill of getting to look at his or her stuff but also the
    problems that may arise in relating what the author says, if in the welter
    of interesting data you can remember, to the data you see.) What's the
    rhetoric of the situation? How do we train our students to conduct an
    argument using live data? (Yes, I know, there's the problem of having to
    train our students to conduct an argument FULL STOP. Where do we turn for
    wisdom on that subject?)

    It seems one little question has turned into several. Discussion on all of
    them would be quite helpful, among other things to clarify our contribution
    to the training of students. Many of mine these days want to grow up to
    write Web pages, which among other things means identifying the
    intellectually stimulating aspects of the technology.


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Dr. Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, King's College London
    voice: +44 (0)171 848 2784 fax: +44 (0)171 848 5081
    <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> <http://ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/>
    maui gratia

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