reading discussion

I thought about

  1. starting a ning to discuss the readings, but it was too much work for one week and an extra URL,
  2. embedding a discussion forum into this blog, but none of the plug-ins seemed to work with this version of WordPress
  3. asking you to tweet your responses, but 140 characters isn’t really enough,

so instead I’m just going to ask you to respond to this post with your questions/comments, etc., about the readings last week and I will respond.

15 thoughts on “reading discussion

  1. Heather Stephenson

    I just finished the reading for this week, and I can’t say that I have many questions about it, because Borgman is very straight forward and organized in her writing. (Even though it is very, very dry). Anyway, I guess my concern is that while she says publishing will always be there, but it will change forms.
    I also agree with Borgman that while digital publishing is a good thing for the field, many Universities, scholars, and literature enthusiasts will always prefer to have the actual book in their hands. The printed documents will always take precedence.
    Although I do think digital publishing is a good way to distribute material to many different people very easily, it is going to be hard to maintain the technology needed to keep the material available.
    Digital publishing is going to change the publishing world very quickly and the challenge for publishers will be to keep up.

  2. Haley Drucker

    Honestly, I don’t have a whole lot to say about most of what’s in these chapters. It’s valuable information, it seems, but it’s just so dry. And some of the sections are hard to understand because they assume prior knowledge about digital or scholarly issues that I just don’t have. I did take a few things away from this reading, though.

    I was surprised to find out that the Internet and the World Wide Web are not synonyms, but two different concepts. I guess I could have figured this out if I’d ever taken the time to think about it, since there are plenty of webpages without www in their address. Apparently the WWW is the name for the program/window through which we see the Internet. I’m still not sure how exactly it’s different from programs like IE and Firefox, though. It’s funny—you use the Internet everyday but never really think about how it works. I’m definitely interested in learning more about that.

    I also found the discussion on authors at the end of chapter 4 kind of interesting. It’s nice to see authors given credit for once—sometimes English scholars go too far in the “the author doesn’t matter” direction, in my opinion. And it’s true that authors have more to do with the text than simply writing it. They connect it to various other texts (either implicitly or through citations) and they choose where and when to publish it. And though this book doesn’t talk much about it, they also promote their own work and serve as its public face.

    I know that in the book industry, authors are being given more and more responsibility for marketing and promoting their own works, and for establishing platforms. Although I’m a publishing major, my primary focus is writing so I can’t help but view everything through the author lens first and foremost. And the truth is that online and off, authors are being forced to become publishers as well as writers.

  3. Amber Dinquel

    The only question/confusion I had was about technical terms but I’m not sure how important that will be for this class. I sometimes felt like it was my dad (who is an IT guy) talking about work and it went straight over my head. But otherwise I understand about scholarship, the difficulties with the peer review process, debates about open access, etc. It’s interesting to me because even though this book deals more with the sciences I know these are problems I may come across in my future as an academic.

  4. Kristen Urchell

    I really dont have any questions from last weeks reading. Some things confuse my in general though. For example, this may sound stupid but what exactly is New media? After reading RAW intro I think its more than just digital. Also, I was never able to take 351 and I have no idea what hypertext is. I am starting to feel behind, which is bad because we just started, on concepts and know-how when it comes to digital concepts.

  5. Carly Xagas

    I agree with a few of the other comments–the material in Borgman isn’t necessarily difficult, it’s just dry. It’s a lot of info to absorb all at once. I did have one question though: after reading this week’s reading from The Access Principle, I found myself returning to the section in last week’s reading from Borgman about Open Science (35). Are Open Science and Open Access the same thing, or at least related? Borgan writes that, “open science is based on the premise that scholarly information is a ‘public good.'” It seems that Open Access is based on the same premise, unless I’m reading it completely wrong. Can anyone explain to me the difference between the two, if there is one?

  6. Julia Drauden

    I, like Haley, was surprised to find out that the Internet and World Wide Web are not the same thing!

    The concept in the Borgman that I found the most interesting and compelling was the idea that information systems will always expand as the knowledge needed to be contained by them will expand. I have worked on various grant projects at Milner Library building databases. The project I am on now, I use existing databases to help compile this new one, so when I read that section I felt like I see this in action every week.

    Kristen, I think new media is more than digital. But, by “digital,” do you mean the Internet? I think of “new media” as anything creative or scholarly that utilizes technology we didn’t have 50 years ago. Most of these things would be accessible through the Internet, or aided by it, but I think it can also be creative and scholarly video or audio projects. Up until the last few decades, anything worth learning from was almost always printed on paper. Now, we are starting to see valid, legitimate creative and scholarly texts in places we didn’t look before. I think that’s what “new media” means. What do other people think of when they think of “new media”?

    Another concept Borgman discussed with which I felt familiar was Open Access/Open Science. I am only familiar in that I use open software for word processing (was NOT going to pay another $150 for MS Word after buying my lap top). The concept seems in direct opposition to our capitalist economy, yet makes so much sense. Why does “free” information online, or on a computer, make so much sense, when we’ve been paying for books for decades?

  7. Julia Drauden

    CORRECTION: Up until the last few decades, anything thought to be worth learning from was almost always printed on paper.

    I did this last time too. Sorry!

  8. Ariana Haze

    I didn’t really have a problem or issue with this reading, but despite the dry language, I did find the it interesting. Publishing is something that concerns every one of us since most of us are going into that major. I was always concerned about how the switch to digital publishing was going to affect our jobs as publishers, but with chapter five, Borgman has put my mind at ease… slightly. Borgman says that printed publishing will never truly go out of fashion which goes against people’s belief that it was eventually going to die out. I’m excited about the changes that come with new technology, but as of right now, I’m still unsure of what that will do to our job market. I also found it interesting that despite Borgman talking about digital publishing, it seemed that printed publishing was still the method of choice.

  9. Sarah Fasen

    Like everyone else said I didn’t really have any problems with the reading for last week. It was a little bit difficult to stay focused because of the language that was used but I made it through. Like Amber I did find myself struggling a little bit with the technical terms which I have never really been exposed to before. I tried my best to understand and grasp them because I am realizing now how important it is to have that vocabulary with how important digital publishing is to my future in the field. I don’t seem to have any confusion with the open access debate, it all seems pretty self explanatory, and I’m sure many of us have come across the issue of retrieving journal articles for papers but not be able to because of the required fee. But like Carly I am interested in the difference between “open science” and “open access.” The mission behind both seem similar and I am curious to see if there is a difference.

  10. Sean Lewis

    Since I didn’t have any trouble with the reading, I just wanted to briefly mention my favorite part of the text so far. I love that Borgman used my favorite quote regarding intellectual property, which happens to be from Thomas Jefferson:”He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me.” I first read this in an essay about fair use in music production. While I wholeheartedly support sampling in music (particularly when the result is easily distinguishable from the source), it seems that this idea is much more important as it is applied to academia. Since digital scholarship has broadened access to information, it is crucial that this information remain open to the public. The idea of intellectual property will only hinder progress so that a few greedy bastards can make a buck.

  11. Sarah Fasen

    So far I am finding these readings to be educational and helpful in learning about the digital publishing industry and the many aspects of the shift between print to digital. I am finding myself confused though. Although she did explain on pg 73 I am still a little bit confused about open access and open source. I am also wondering about the many different ways authors can put their work on the public domain. There is the option to self-archive, put your work in repositories, publish in open-access journals, etc. It seems like there are many options for authors to get their work out there but I am a little confused about how these different options work. I understand that authors want to self archive in e-archives but how exactly do these work; is it through the university they are doing research with? Maybe I was just reading wrong but I feel like there is a difference between all of these things. I was also wondering a little bit more about “work-made-for-hire” and what exactly is does/mean?
    It is good to see that publishers are letting their authors do things like self-archive and allow their work to be part of open-access. Also, I was never really aware of why someone would want their work to be available open-access (besides out of the goodness of the heart) but this reading really made it aware to me. Authors want their work to read and cited and used and this makes complete sense to me.

  12. Christina Pallack

    So I understand that Willinsky wants all journals to be open access and free and available to everyone online. What he fails to mention, so far, is that there are a lot of people who do not enjoy reading off of a computer screen for long periods of time, even if it is for free. Of course the reply to this would be that they could print it off the computer and take it anywhere, but then that is just another expense to the reader. I guess what the reader saves in journal subscriptions he/she spends in paper.

  13. Haley Drucker

    Obviously since we read 8 chapters this week I can’t comment on everything, but here are some of the things I found most interesting and/or most confusing (and didn’t ‘tweet’ about).

    There just aren’t enough specifics on cost in this book—I’m completely unconvinced this open access model would be sustainable. Actually, I don’t quite understand how scholarly publishing makes enough money to support itself now. And how do academics ever make any money? Wilinsky keeps saying more of your articles read and cited leads to more money somehow, but I’m don’t see how unless it means a job at a higher-paying university. And how on earth do science academics survive, paying author fees to publish? Do they get it all from grants? And where is all that grant money ultimately coming from, anyway? The government? The whole process seems very in-the-dark.

    Digital publishing would probably be more sustainable—at least for publishers. But it still doesn’t explain how the academics can afford to publish. And what I really don’t understand here is why a publisher would agree to publish something that had been offered in any form on the Internet. Commercial publishers would never do that. I mean, who would buy something you could get in a nearly identical format online?

    I like the description Wilinsky gives of early nineteenth century cheep scientific journals—it would be nice if people cared that much about science now. There are people like amateur astronomers who contribute, and of course there’s the way the OED was developed. Honestly, though, does Wilinsky really think the public will read journal articles if they have access? Probably less than .1 percent actually would.

    I do agree that putting journal articles on open access might force academics to actually write clearly, though. Maybe it would encourage them to do away with all the jargon and roundabout speech and write plainly, as well as do more research into things that are practical and less into obscure things like centuries-old books. I really like this quote Wilinsky gives from Derrida: “that every philosophical teaching [should] be capable of being made popular (that is, of being made sufficiently clear to the sense to be communicated to everyone), if the teacher is not to be suspected of being muddled in his own concepts.” If it’s in academic-speak, I start to wonder if the author really knows what they’re talking about or if they’re faking it.

  14. Carly Xagas

    It’s obvious that Willinsky is for open access publishing, and is working hard to convince his readers that open access publishing is for the good of the public–but the fact that he needs to convince anyone makes me wonder what the cons of open access are? He’s mentioned here and there reasons why open access may not be as popular as it could be (issues like cost, scholars’ pride, etc) but is there anything he’s leaving out in order to make his point? Like Haley mentioned, I don’t understand how open access publishing could be sustainable. As we talked about in last week’s class, money for author fees, etc., often comes from grants, and as Willinsky stated in earlier readings, the more an author is cited, the more money he or she will ultimately make (presumably in promotions or better job offers) but I guess I’m still confused about the economics of open access.

  15. Haley Drucker

    Borgman Chapters 8 and 9

    I agree that ‘humanities scholarship’ is very hard to characterize. It’s easy to figure out what more science-oriented professors would study and why it’s important, but I’m often at a loss to figure out what my English professors do and why anybody cares. Is studying some author from decades ago to publish papers about him or her really useful to anyone? What do English professors research that is actually practical and useful (besides digital media I suppose)?

    I found the discussion on interactive research interesting—especially the part about ‘Rome Reborn.’ This sounds to me kind of like Second Life, a virtual world I’m working with for my internship. Second Life is used by at least a couple of ISU professors—Bill Shields and Katherine Ellison—and they both talked about how it lets their students actually experience things in a more active and physical way than simply sitting in a classroom.

    I also found the concept of an ‘electronic library’ interesting because I’ve seen this grow more popular with the public libraries. More and more they’re putting ebooks and eaudiobooks and such online, where you can check them out and download them for a certain amount of time. This is definitely useful, and people seem to like it, but I really doubt any library would ever go completely electronic. Maybe it would be more useful to scholars, who wouldn’t care so much about aesthetics like having a physical book because they’re using the resources for research, rather than for fun.

    Finally, I just wanted to note that I love this quote: “Predicting the future is easy. It’s trying to figure out what’s going on now that’s hard.” Although I would change that second part to “what should be going on now.” It’s like the copyright wars—we can all imagine different futures with different copyright systems, but we can’t figure out what the laws should be like right now.


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