Craig Dietrich and Jentery Sayers article, After the Document Model for Scholarly Communication: Some Considerations for Authoring with Rich Media, argues that the humanities need digital platforms to help manage the duplication of web-based content. As new platforms are developed for this end, questions will necessarily arise: “what should digital scholarly communications look, sound, and feel like? How should people navigate them? How are writing and attribution reimagined through new platforms? How and where should digital content be stored? And finally, to what degree should audiences be able to personalize or tailor content based on their own contexts and preferences?” I’m especially interested in this last question. When it comes to databases, for example, we are able to extract a document and download it as a PDF file where we can annotate it with our own markings and notes. To some extent, after we extract and edit an article we may consider the text to be partially ours since we ourselves have contributed to it. If we chose to upload our own annotated version of the article the text would have two conceivable authors.
Sometimes we are faced with multiple authors before we even reach the text. Consider our library’s Primo search; often an abstract that was not written by the original author is included with the link to the article. In this case, we are getting a first look/summary of the text from someone other than the person who created the text. In my experience, I sometimes find abstracts misleading as they overgeneralize arguments and miss key points, which could mislead the reader or influence interpretation. As a student, I definitely feel it is important to be able to engage with databases and the texts themselves, personalizing and tailoring them to improve comprehension, however, platforms ought to clearly indicate if a text has been altered and who it is altered by (student, professor, bear, raccoon). It is easy to be misled to believe that an altered article is the original.
Since we have those annotated bibliographies coming up (ahh never had to write one before) I’m going to ask some questions about the research process: How do you personalize or tailor your searches when using databases? In what ways do you integrate with or alter online texts? And lastly, are you aware/concerned with duplication when accessing articles online and how do you manage this?