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March 10, 2006

Discussion Thread for Research, Teaching, and Learning Panel

The blog "floor" is open for your feedback on this panel.

Posted by kimballs at March 10, 2006 02:42 PM


A paraphrased question from the audience: is the practice of citation in danger as content becomes more of a process rather than a product or a fixed object? The example given was Wikipedia but there are others where digital content changes in a more fluid way then what we are used to in a fixed, print world. There are implications for scholarship, and research and attribution as well as teaching new generations of students. Or is the implication of a broader sort? Is the nature of authorship and knowledge creation changing?

Posted by: dgeraci at March 10, 2006 02:54 PM

I was wondering about this too -- the whole culture of citation is also a culture of appeal to authority . . . "my ideas have validity because I can show you a certain number of experts whose ideas support mine" . . it's unsettling (but necessary?) to try to imagine a kind of argument that isn't validated in that way -- or at least not so permanently.

Posted by: mbonn at March 10, 2006 03:01 PM

I found it interesting that the ever-changing page (i.e. on Wikipedia) should be such a concern. Would it not be fairly straightforward to archive each iteration of a page, and automatically link to each from the current WP page? Am I missing some detail which makes this difficult?

Posted by: celia.white@gmail.com at March 10, 2006 03:38 PM

I am imagining a system wherein institutions and perhaps even individuals can have access to and use of a utility which scans a number of sources for documents which are substantially similar (perhaps variations of an original), conducts a statistical analysis, and presents an annotated document with variations, their frequencies of occurrence, and the institutions from which the variations appear to come noted right in the document via overlays, sidebars, etc.

The premise is that the bulk of the community would not make changes to the data, or any substantive changes to original documents at all, and thus the end user would be able to make a determination for herself of the credibility of the various institutions and of the data reflected in the document itself.

This would be a valuable tool in the context of a post-DRM environment, as suggested by Bruce Schneier, who writes that DRM is itself destined to fail because the whole information society and economy is fundamentally based on the duplication of bits (of data) as the methodology of distribution. In the previous world, information was distributed in artifact form, which is much more easily controlled by proprietary interests.

Posted by: ebassey at March 10, 2006 07:24 PM

It may be salient that my most-cited academic paper was a satire released into the LANL arXiv (http://arxiv.org/abs/adap-org/9910002). And my coauthor's *blog* has been cited at least as many times as his scholarly work -- cited, that is, in *scholarly* print publications.

Posted by: wtozier at March 10, 2006 09:34 PM

In response to ebassey's 7:24 p.m. comment, two projects come to mind:

* http://mith2.umd.edu/products/ver-mach/
* http://tapor.ca/

Posted by: kshawkin at March 11, 2006 08:56 AM

The comments concerning e-books that occured in various sessions seemed to lack any concern that cognition may suffer. Has anyone done a controlled, scientific study to determine if people gain as much insight from reading on-screen information as they do by reading printed materials? If not, this would be an interesting Doctoral subject for some School of Information student.

Posted by: jmackrel at March 13, 2006 11:57 AM

For Kevin Hawkin--the link to mith.umd.edu does not seem to work;)

Posted by: jmackrel at March 13, 2006 12:21 PM

I've corrected it in the original, and here it is as well:


Posted by: kshawkin at March 14, 2006 01:35 PM

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