Week 7 Reflection

The idea of being paid to create knowledge rather than to research seems to be a bit idealistic, but I can see where the DSSF program is coming from. When I think of being paid to research as an undergraduate, I think of the task-oriented style of researching with a professor in the sciences. I think of my friend who is doing political science research and assists her professor in what he asks of her. I don’t think of what we are doing.

Perhaps this is because this is the most open-ended form of research I have ever done. But I do think that there is something to be said about the way I get to do research through DH. I didn’t have to start with a thesis because it isn’t a paper. I started with a topic and let the research take me where it did. I don’t exactly think that this means that I was paid to create knowledge. If anything, I think that means I was paid to create a DH project, which ended up creating knowledge.

Sometimes I don’t think that I am adding that much more to the wealth of global knowledge. But I do think that I am bringing some information that people outside of the Gettysburg community would not be readily aware of, and that makes me feel like I am serving some purpose.

Burdick writes that “[o]pen-source culture possesses a multitude of facets and definitions, comprising many of the attributes already discussed: collaborative authoring, multiple versioning, flexible attitudes toward intellectual property, peer contributions, access to multiple and multiplying communities, and overall patterns of distributed knowledge production, review, and use.” (Burdick 77) The idea that someone, somewhere may view my project and become inspired to create something of their own makes me happy.

Rather than creating the knowledge of reenacting in Gettysburg, I am more proud of creating the knowledge that I can do this… that anyone can do this. The ivory tower is such an established thing, that any chance to dismantle that system is worth it.

Anyone can create knowledge. With or without digital humanities, anyone can create knowledge. Everyone’s experiences, ideas, thoughts, and beliefs add worth and knowledge to the world. In some ways, even though digital humanities are relatively more “open,” they aren’t that much more open.

To view my project, you have to have internet access. Most people that want to view my project would have to understand English. They would most likely have to be aware of digital humanities. That is already such a small population.

However, digital humanities is the next step towards creating a more open concept of knowledge. Twenty years down the line, what we view as ‘open’ will be so different. More people will have access to knowledge. At least, I hope so.

2 Replies to “Week 7 Reflection”

  1. I’m going to counter your claim that people “have to be aware of digital humanities” to access your project. I think people only need to be aware of Google to access your project.

    As for the idea of not adding much to the wealth of knowledge… I’ll bet that most researchers feel like that at some point or another. Capital K Knowledge is such a huge thing, a vast choir. Every voice contributes and is important.

  2. Here’s a way to visualize knowledge creation: http://www.openculture.com/2012/09/the_illustrated_guide_to_a_phd-redux.html

    Granted, this is focused at a PhD level audience. But you are still pushing out the bubble a little bit on your own as well. And in a sense, you are pushing out of your own bubble of personal knowledge as well (and we really focus on that, with the gaining of tech skills and the confidence to talk about them, as well as your ability to research independently).

    And the value of inspiration! Love it. I usually learn a bit more about tech and research each summer, but I come away inspired at the end as well by the possibilities and what has been created. And that is worth it.

    I’ve appreciated your thinking about accessibility this whole time, and critical evaluation of not only DH but higher ed a a whole.

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