18.377 Google Scholar

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 08:34:24 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 377.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: Pat Galloway <galloway_at_ischool.utexas.edu> (20)
         Subject: Re: 18.375 Google Scholar

   [2] From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk> (24)
         Subject: standing on the shoulders of giants

         Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 08:01:35 +0000
         From: Pat Galloway <galloway_at_ischool.utexas.edu>
         Subject: Re: 18.375 Google Scholar

Referring to Hope's comments: I have colleagues working with Google and
know that the company's curiosity about how language works and their
desire to access and provide access to obscure archival materials (for
example) is genuine. I expect that people had a hard time getting with
Dewey's program at first, too (and oh the agony of switching to LC)--and
that locked down a western conceptual structure in such a way that people
are now threatened by an engine like Google that can conceivably be at
least partly agnostic as to conceptual structure. Students need to be
taught how to evaluate materials on the basis of context and internal
evidence, wherever they come from--and maybe they'll realize how much they
need that skill when they get ten thousand hits from an ill-formed request.
But don't we all love open stacks for the serendipity of bad cataloging and
just being forced to walk by shelves in which we think we have no interest?
For some real entertainment, click on Google preferences and look at the
languages in which you can search and set the interfact to display to you.
A local physics student when interviewed said he set his interface for
Latin "because it's kind of ironic." Go figure: unintended consequences.
You can also have Klingon.
Pat Galloway
School of Information
University of Texas at Austin

         Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 08:23:54 +0000
         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
         Subject: standing on the shoulders of giants

Google Scholar has chosen as its motto, "Stand on the shoulders of giants".
Since only two days ago I ran across what seems likely to be the best work
on that phrase anywhere, I thought I'd pass on the reference. You never
know -- you might want to quote it when discussing the way we tend to think
these days. Anyhow, you should know, if this phrase grabs you, that Isaac
Newton's use of it, in a letter to Robert Hooke, 5 February 1676, is not
the first. Newton didn't invent it. A.C. Crombie, in his magnificent
3-volume Styles of Scientific Thinking in the European Tradition (London:
Duckworth, 1994), p. 25, n. 37, traces it back to the 12th Century, to
Bernard of Chartres, as reported by John of Salisbury (who refers to dwarfs
perched on the shoulders of giants) and relates it to William of Conches'
gloss on Priscian, "quanto juniores, tanto perspicaciores". (For this
phrase Google Scholar suggested I might have been intending to type
"quanto juniors, tanto perspicacious".) "He said well that the moderns are
able to see better than the ancients but are not wiser", Crombie comments.


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Received on Fri Nov 26 2004 - 04:01:48 EST

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