21.496 no killer app but work to be done

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 06:50:05 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 21, No. 496.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 06:41:05 +0000
         From: Michael Hart <hart_at_pglaf.org>
         Subject: Re: 21.495 no killer app but work to be done

True, you can't convince the skeptics. . .you still can't say
that digitial music has wiped out analog music because a few
places still make analog records which are really better, not
that a true skeptic needs those last few words.

Even when there are more eBooks than paper books, no way.

Even when there are 100 times as many eBooks, not happening.

It's not going to matter what they SAY about eBooks, reality
is going in that direction and paper books will never reverse
that trend, simply because you can /OWN/ MILLIONS OF eBOOKS IN
A TERABYTE DRIVE [costing under $200].

Before Gutenberg the average person could own zero books.

Before Project Gutenberg an average person could own 0 libraries.

It's literally as simple as that.

The cost/benefit ratio for eBooks is too much better than paper.


Michael S. Hart
Project Gutenberg

Recommended Books:

Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury: For The Right Brain
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Ran,: For The Left Brain [or both]
Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson: To Understand The Internet
The Phantom Toobooth, by Norton Juster: Lesson of Life. . .

On Wed, 23 Jan 2008, Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard
McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>) wrote:

> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 21, No. 495.
> Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
> www.princeton.edu/humanist/
> Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu
> Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 07:04:43 +0000
> From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
> >
>Yesterday I was in a meeting with some people who share my desire if
>not need to reach the sceptics and reason with them about the
>validity of what we do in the digital humanities. One of these asked
>us to name or guess at the "killer app" that would at least make such
>sceptics vulnerable to persuasion. The answer that came back was that
>no such thing exists nor will -- because sceptical scholars will
>always be wanting to see not so much whatever tool might be a
>candidate but results from that or other tools which back up the
>claims made. My contribution to the response was to stress the
>quality of the argument made. Indeed, I'm inclined to think that such
>argument comes first but needs to be backed up with evidence. There's
>different kinds of evidence: (a) the disciplinarily specific kind,
>that shows what happens when e.g. a particular prosopographical tool
>is used to demonstrate the identity of a person from historical
>records that were formerly thought not to be related; (b) the kind
>which demonstrates in support of claims we tend to make that a
>discipline or disciplinary specialism has actually changed course
>because of such things; (c) the kind that records a given scholar's
>metanoia on seeing what can be done in his or her specialism; (d) the
>kind that results when many of (c) are recorded, studied and
>convincingly presented. Any others?
>My experience suggests that those of us closely involved can manage
>(a) without much difficulty and can relate individual anecdotes of
>(c) but that (b) and (d) constitute urgent work to be done.
>What say you?
>Willard McCarty | Professor of Humanities Computing | Centre for
>Computing in the Humanities | King's College London |
>http://staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/. Et sic in infinitum (Fludd
>1617, p. 26).
Received on Thu Jan 24 2008 - 02:08:26 EST

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