Friday, May 25, 2007

speed bumps

David Weinberger comments here on the preceding post about JSTOR. Meanwhile, having recently read Everything is Miscellaneous, I can't help but think of its relevance to JSTOR, and, conversely, to consider implications of the JSTOR-Y for David's argument/vision.

Toward the end of chapter 1, having described in some detail the Bettmann Archive and contrasted it with Corbis, and both their modes of organization with that of Flickr, David goes on to say:

We have entire industries and institutions built on the fact that the paper order severely limits how things can be organized. Museums, educational curricula, newspapers, the travel industry, and television schedules are all based on the assumption that in the second-order world, we need experts to go through information, ideas and knowledge and put them neatly away.

But now we -- the customers, the employees, anyone -- can route around the second order. We can confront the miscellaneous directly in all its unfulfilled glory. We can do it ourselves, and, more significantly, we can do it together, figuring out the arrangements that make sense for us now and the new arrangements that make sense a minute later. Not only can we find what we need faster, but traditional authorities cannot maintain themselves by insisting that we have to go to them.

"Isla: En Mi Carcel de Papel"

Two - uh, three - quick points:

1. The "paper order" of scholarly journals, thanks to the work of JSTOR, is subject to vast abbreviation. Instead of requiring duplicate tons of paper redundantly delivered to and stored in thousands of expensive buildings, one set, well cared for, or two, or at most a very, very few, are all that's required to meet the needs of a readership that, by virtue of the modality of that abbreviation, could now be expanded to include virtually everybody. This is a vast and stunning alteration of the first-order economy.

2. We have a Pisgah view of these journals thanks to Google's crawl. Without that algorithm spidering through 23 million pages, we would still be subject to the rule of paper.

3. We are still subject to the constraints of paper insofar as the business model of JSTOR has a ways to evolve before it can revolutionize its gatekeeping function to allow open access.

It seems that between the prisonhouse of paper and the unfettered bliss of what "we" can do with universal miscellaneity lie some bumps in the road: the event of Google, and the encrustations of first and second order economies, at the very least.

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Blogger Juke said...

"the event of Google" what is?
Precip, or ongoing, or when it finds the archives under discussion?

5/26/2007 1:43 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

All of the above - in the story I report of JSTOR, it's the transformative moment when JSTOR went from hidden protected archive to revealed protected archive. It apparently (need to check on this) depended upon permission granted by JSTOR to Google, allowing the crawl.

IT is ongoing - but I'm not sure that permission could not be rescinded - in which case, we would be left with incomplete googleization.

So much depends upon the workings of Google's algorithm that, I think, we need to be clear that this is not something we can simply assume to exist, or conflate with the general workings of social knowledge and of the web.

5/26/2007 8:04 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Blogs, also, have achieved some sort of "referenciability" thanks to Google, no?

5/26/2007 9:48 AM  
Blogger Juke said...

Someone could make a hierarchical entryway for Google and that would be nice. I can't or I'd describe it better. Seeing something like a series of dropdowns that let you get closer to the mini-meta of your search before the results come pouring in. As it is now it all happens just before you throw the switch and then it's slog slog slog through umpty-billion possibilities including yer buddies JSTOR in the first 20 usually now.
Something else Google is doing though I think it's a pref thing though I can't find the adjustor knob is it throws me to the first hit on the results so I'm always and I mean every single time bailing from that then the second hit gives the familiar blue font results page. Gosh I wish I knew how to disable that.
Anyway the customizabilationalism is still rudimentararially in preproximate formationicality, I think.
But yeah reference blog archives google has.

5/26/2007 4:06 PM  

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