Invisible Gorillas Are Everywhere: Interesting, perhaps controversial, piece

Academe Today, January 24, 2012, Invisible Gorillas Are Everywhere.

William Pannapacker reviews the 2011 HASTAC meeting (see keynotes here) and comments on technology and the digital humanities debate.

There is also mention of the MLA and AHA guidelines for evaluating digital projects. I’m guessing that would be the following:

Since we have touched on how to evaluate projects previously, perhaps this would be a good discussion item.

3 thoughts on “Invisible Gorillas Are Everywhere: Interesting, perhaps controversial, piece

  1. Agreed. This would be a great Brown Bag discussion topic. As one of the comments on the MLA site points out, those guidelines are 10 years old. I’m sure there are more up-to-date guidelines posted by other organizations elsewhere, and since many of us are embarking on digital projects (especially us un-tenured folks) it would be a good idea for all of us to get up to speed. One step I plan to take (which seems to be standard practice) is to line up an Editorial Board for my digital project. In essence, one goes out and gets one’s own peer review for the digital project from the get-go, thus ensuring that the project meets standards in the field and that there are people out there who can testify to this and provide oversight at crucial steps along the way.

  2. I agree with Jen, but I think there’s enough here for at least two brown bag sessions and an additional meeting:
    One lunch to discuss project evaluation, ideally followed by a meeting with someone from the Dean’s office who has something to do with the tenure process.

    One lunch to talk about the broader ideas behind Davidson’s book and mentioned in this article about rethinking how we teach. I read through part of her book a few weeks ago and came away excited by some of the specific approaches she advocates, but deeply concerned about the validity of her broader (and foundational) assumptions. If we want the Internet to be (in part) an academic place, I think we need to think more about the relationship between digital immediacy and academic ponderousness. The latter may have value applicable to the former. And responsiveness to the “old ways” will make it easier to speak to those associate profs who had to meet those old standards.

  3. Jen, indeed, they are dated. Check out for a more recent treatment, though I don’t know that there is anything “official” about these perspectives. I’ve not gotten through the articles, but expect to find some engaging thoughts considering the authors. I worked with Susan when we were both at Maryland.

    David, you are correct, there is much fodder here to discuss…could be an extended discussion involving many folks. I think having a discussion like this here would be fruitful. I also think you have hit on an important aspect of the larger dialogue, there is a balancing issue that one must consider. Scholarship, in my mind, does require observation, thought, review, discussion (if only with oneself), articulation, etc., all of which happen on some scale other than Internet time.

Leave a Reply