The Digital Scholar – ebook file
I’ve been doing some writing on revisiting my 2011 book The Digital Scholar. I’ve also got a couple of presentations planned around it. But on checking I note that the imprint of Bloomsbury that published it, Bloomsbury Academic, is no longer functioning and the titles have been rolled into the main Bloomsbury catalogue. My previous links to the free version don’t work any more, and you have to dig pretty hard to find the free version on their site. I think open access publishing was something they experimented with when Frances Pinter was there, but now she has moved on to Knowledge Unlatched, they’ve quietly abandoned it.
Of course, the benefit of open access is that the destiny of my book is in my own hands, and needn’t die when a publisher changes tack. I own it. It’s strange that this is not the norm, I know. So, this post is really just a means of archiving my own book (on my own domain) for future reference. And of course, a reminder to read it if you haven’t done so.
Here it is then (only PDF & epub I’m afraid):
The Digital Scholar PDF
Hi Martin, it was interesting to hear your presentation on Thursday at the OU H818 ‘The Networked Practitioner’ Online Conference 2018 and your update on the world of The Digital Scholar, thanks. One issue in particular has got me thinking though. It was your point about how academics (digital scholars) are still using Blogs and Twitter etc to publish but how the institutions haven’t really got to grips with recognising (or rewarding) their output.
I’m a huge believer in being digital but I have (at least one) concern about digital practice. How accessible will it be overtime (and to whom)??
I’m currently reading A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor, based on things in the British Museum (an Xmas gift from my daughter who works there). I often read while partner Jan knits and I wondered if a bit of knitting was included in the 100 items around which MacGregor spins his history. There isn’t. Lots of metalwork, lots of stonework and woodwork and ceramics, but no knitting. Odd, given its utilitarian importance, but then I realised, knitting rots away whereas metal etc doesn’t. When looking back, or when future generations look back, it’s difficult to know what was going on without evidence. Take Ada Lovelace, I saw a TV program about her last week, claiming her as the first computer programmer and more. These claims were based primarily on the fulsome notes that were published as an Appendix to a report on Babbage’s Analytical Engine and which have survived in printed form (https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lecture/transcript/download/the-scientific-life-of-ada-lovelace/ ). Without that evidence would current generations know anything about Ada other than her being Byron’s daughter? As I said, I’m a believer in being digital … there was a time when I had “authored” most of the contents of IET’s Knowledge Network (in its early days) … a digital proof-of-concept research project, intended, I thought, to record the wisdom of IET for posterity. However, following up on a request on another digital forum recently I tried to find a entry that I had written on the KN about affordances, not all that long ago, that included some useful references to Bill Gaver’s work … but I couldn’t. I didn’t have access. The URL had changed, servers had been swapped, or closed … and unfortunately I hadn’t kept a paper copy, I had believed in being digital. (I did find the ref to Gaver’s TECHNOLOGY AFFORDANCES paper in the end via Google Scholar: https://www.lri.fr/~mbl/Stanford/CS477/papers/Gaver-CHI1991.pdf ).
This is my big worry about being digital. I share your concern that institutions are not really coping with digital scholarship now, but mainly I worry for people in a hundred years time trying to assess digital scholars whose work is effectively lost (do you know… they still used electricity and silicon in those days, how quaint, pity we can’t access it).
My advice is, unfortunately, keep a paper copy of anything you write, preferably on archive quality paper, and store it somewhere safe, or get it published in a paper-based journal 🙁
Hi Simon, sorry this comment ended up in Spam for some reason. You raise a good concern. It is one I used to be dismissive of, the whole curation and archiving, but I’ve begun to consider more now (maybe it’s a function of getting older). As my iTunes playlists have become corrupted and files lost, I’ve switched back to vinyl. The same may apply for scholarship – I guess one approach is to consider some of it ephemeral – I don’t really care that my tweets might die. Another is to archive yourself, eg host your own blog in a ready standard and make backups. But yes, I wonder what future archeologists will work with.