Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 263.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 10:13:33 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <email@example.com>
Subject: styles of publication - minor aside
No perfect time to delurk, I guess, after such a long silence...
>(I hear that scanning pens
>have improved greatly, that students who regularly work in the Bodleian,
>for example, use them to avoid the high cost of photocopying there; I may
>follow their example soon.)
Last summer saw an attempt - and failure - on my part to do just this,
precisely in the Bodleian. They have a very strict no-scanning
policy. Reference librarians told me that I could write an appeal to one
of the directors of the library, but would have to get special permission
every time I wanted to scan something. This would have taken weeks, which
I did not have, and the librarians did their utmost to discourage me from
pursuing this. It was only vaguely possible to get such permission,
because I would have wanted to scan in an entire book of over 300 pages,
out of copyright, that doesn't exist in any other WorldCat-linked
library. They certainly do not allow scanning as a way of note-taking.
As for publication styles, the most significant change I see as having been
brought in specifically by the electronic medium is ease of
communication. Theses are formulated, thoroughly developed, contested and
defended via lists such as this one, newsgroups and billboards (do people
even use those anymore?). Posts get lengthy, and are often archived -- for
all practical (communication-with-live-readers) purposes, published. It
seems not enough to hear/read conference and journal papers: they often
reference and are born out of list discussions. Information often
approaching in weight that found in short papers is disseminated habitually
in electronic space.
I wonder if "precise-scientists" - physicists, for example - discuss issues
at the same length in these venues. It seems that discussion lists etc.
are more suited to speculative discussion than to, say, discussion of
ongoing empirical experiments. From everything I've heard, you do not
publicize your experiments in any way until you have specific results to
share, and to claim. From this would follow that published papers, short
and long, would play a more integral communicative part in physics etc.
than they do in the humanities, now that we have other means of (more
immediate) communication with our live readers. But, really, I know very
little about how things work in the sciences, so please forgive me if these
impressions are off the mark.
-Vika Zafrin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dr Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Computing in the
Humanities, King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS U.K. | +44 (0)20
7848-2784 (fax -2980) | email@example.com
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