METHODOLOGY \ PRINCIPLES \ Digital thought \ 312publ
1: G. Buccellati, February 2008

Chapter 9 of the digital monograph: Digital Thought

Digital publishing

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1. The process

copy editing
ephemerides and bibliographical status vs. wiki "history" approach
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2. The risks of digital authorship

     What should emerge is a whole new posture towards authorship, seen in a digital dimension. Besides acquiring a mental disposition that is specifically suited to digital thought as outlined above, there are some more practical aspects thta must be considered.
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The difficulty of a new commitment

     To publish digitally in the sense outlined here entails, it would seem, an act of courage with regard to at least two difficulties. First, one must assume receptivity on the part of the scholarly community for the conceptual goals inherent in the new modalities. A general attitude sems to have developed whereby a website is seen primarily as a quick source of information to be skipped through hurriedly, not as a reasoned argument one should reflect on and properly study. If something of that nature is to be conveyed through a website, a format is chosen that mirrors the image of a printed text (currently a .PDF format): once the text is extracted from its website environment, then it seems to emerge to the status of a scholarly text, the one for which our intelelctual habit have trained us. The difficulty of the new commitment, then, is to develop new habits that would allow us to follow a digital argument as presented in a website along the lines I have described here.
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The gamble with continuity

     The second difficulty is that one must assume a continuity in the medium that may not be forthcoming. Take a website as complex as the one that is being presented here. It is intrinsically built as a vast network of filaments that make it into the dynamic organism it is, but how can it exist apart from the technical infrastructure here adopted? Previous experiences of migration or conversion, even from earlier to later versions of the same program, are far from promising. The industry presupposes and thrives on ephemeral products, which are either so simple in structure as to be easily exported to new formats, or else so unsubstantial in content as to warrant a whole new production from scratch. Back to top

3. Urkesh applications

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The Urkesh Global Record as a digital text

     I conceive of the Urkesh Global Record as a properly digital text in the sense mentioned above, namely as operative on three levels. The near totality of the pages is generated automatically from an input that derives from a large variety of sources (including plain text, file directories, database outputs), written at different times and by different people is in plain ASCII format. What I believe to be especially significant is the fact that this input is
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The Urkesh Website as a digital text

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