Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 769.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Mon, 05 Apr 2004 08:43:10 +0100
From: Patrick Durusau <Patrick.Durusau@sbl-site.org>
Subject: Re: 17.759 sustainability?
>A proposal for you to challenge. Returning to the example of philosophy,
>organizations representing this discipline through the national academies
>world-wide, take charge. Even if the Stanford Encyclopedia were not
>good (which it is), let us say that some such resources reach the level of
>quality at which they really should be a product of the disciplines to
>which they belong. Is it reasonable to consider that somehow the
>collective members of these disciplines could see that they are not lost?
Leaving aside the "technical questions" as you suggest in your post, I
think to focus on the sustainability of any single resource, even one as
fine as the Stanford Encyclopedia, represents too narrow a view to answer
the question of sustainability.
Certainly, like academic journals, such a resource could be "adopted" by a
professional organization and provided either as a member benefit or on a
subscription model, if not both. Depending upon its degree of importance to
the profession, it could become a "must have" resource.
But what of the other "must have" resources in the field? To pick titles at
random, what of "The Review of Metaphysics," "The Journal of Philosophy,"
and the "European Journal of Philosophy?" Don't they also deserve
consideration for sustainability?
So long as these "must have" resources are maintained separately, they are
all more vulnerable to shifting interest in and support from a smallish
pool of supporters. Libraries, for example, have only limited funds with
which to support any number of "must have" resources. Each of which
duplicates, to some degree, the costs of the others.
I think the question should be: How do we sustain all of the resources that
are "must have" in an entire field of study? That widens the field of stake
holders to include publishers, distributors, professional societies,
libraries, academic departments and individual scholars. Motives for
participation will vary and any plan will serve some better than others.
The question is finding a balance that serves most of them well enough that
a critical mass of support can be maintained over time.
Not at all sure how one would resolve the various and sometimes conflicting
interests of the various stakeholders and perhaps those resolutions would
vary from case to case. But the gain from such resolutions is a larger
group with varying interests in particular resources, sustaining a group of
resources as a whole.
Hope you are having a great day!
-- Patrick Durusau Director of Research and Development Society of Biblical Literature Patrick.Durusau@sbl-site.org Chair, V1 - Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface Co-Editor, ISO 13250, Topic Maps -- Reference Model
Topic Maps: Human, not artificial, intelligence at work!
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