19.027 Bell's access everywhere

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 07:36:58 +0100

                Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 27.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 07:03:58 +0100
         From: Written By Hand--Manuscript Americana
         Subject: RESPONSE: "internetting scholarship"

Hello, Colleagues:

Author Bell writes, "Today, a scholar in South Dakota, or Shanghai, or
Albania--anywhere on earth with an Internet connection--has a research
library at her fingertips."

This is simply not the case. An awareness of current economic and physical
conditions in the case of South Dakota demonstrates internet access is not
so blithely obtainable as suggested. Ditto for Shanghai and Albania. And,
the "research library" is often dead-end references to unavailable sources.

The problems are legion with Bell's point of view, which is familiar enough
to readers of such futurists as Buckminster Fuller and Bill Gates and Jules
Verne. There isn't enough time in the world to sharpen the axe for this
one, but it's important to keep in mind (and take it from me as a working
scholar), that technology is a tool, and not an end in itself. Just
because you can give a PowerPoint presentation doesn't make it
desirable. I'll never be without my computer and internet access, but I
don't expect them to be anything other than what they are.

Peter Christian Pehrson, Director & Archivist

Written By Hand Manuscript Americana
"Primary Sources in Regional History"
www.writtenbyhand.com / 877.395.2047
Yale Box 206581, New Haven, Conn. 06520 USA
(Specializing in scholarly handwritten material only, no
printed ephemera, no autographs, no celebrity material,
no scripophily, no philately.)
Received on Sat May 14 2005 - 02:52:59 EDT

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