Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hacking Archaeology, or, PDQ Redux

At the risk of sounding derivative... are folks aware of the 'Hacking the Academy' book project? Perhaps something similar to collect together the archaeo-blog-o-sphere is a good idea...?

To recap, Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt launched this as part of the recent THATCamp:

Can an algorithm edit a journal? Can a library exist without books? Can students build and manage their own learning management platforms? Can a conference be held without a program? Can Twitter replace a scholarly society?

As recently as the mid-2000s, questions like these would have been unthinkable. But today serious scholars are asking whether the institutions of the academy as they have existed for decades, even centuries, aren’t becoming obsolete. Every aspect of scholarly infrastructure is being questioned, and even more importantly, being hacked. Sympathetic scholars of traditionally disparate disciplines are cancelling their association memberships and building their own networks on Facebook and Twitter. Journals are being compiled automatically from self-published blog posts. Newly-minted Ph.D.’s are foregoing the tenure track for alternative academic careers that blur the lines between research, teaching, and service. Graduate students are looking beyond the categories of the traditional C.V. and building expansive professional identities and popular followings through social media. Educational technologists are “punking” established technology vendors by rolling their own open source infrastructure.

“Hacking the Academy” will both explore and contribute to ongoing efforts to rebuild scholarly infrastructure for a new millenium.
At least one other 'hacking'-inspired project is now underway. We had a bit of momentum a while ago for something along these lines (PDQ) but maybe the problem there was that we tried to build it entirely via blogs - 'Hacking the Academy' seems to have gained its momentum by its use of Twitter for collecting/collating submissions.

So. Good idea, bad idea, unnecessary?


Bill Caraher said...


I was thinking the exact same thing. The key is to get a good publisher... ISAW... to attract the best blogging talent and who can support the digital side of things.

I'd be happy to contribute or to help edit. It seems like even in Hacking the Academy, some human tweaking.


Bill Caraher said...


As for its necessity, I think that publishing a "snapshot" of the new media content circulating in the new media in an old media format would productively strain the relationship between content and the media. This will not only help us problematize the nature and limits of the new digital media, and at the same time showing "the establishment" that the content circulating on these so-called "blogs" and "twitters" makes a genuine contribution to the field.

So... it would be a contribution both to the discussion of the relationship between new and established media (both in form and content) as well as a useful historical snapshot of how the field conceptualized and used the new media at a moment in time.


Ann Wuyts said...

Curious how this will evolve..

Anonymous said...

we'd need a hashtag to collect submissions via twitter... how about #archaeohack?

ISAW might just be the place for this, too...

Eric Kansa said...

Sounds like a good idea to me. I've been working on a paper talking about "scholarship as a service" models of scholarly production. The idea there is that some research outputs are streaming, dynamic and responsive, as opposed to being static and discrete (like a book or paper).