##Questions from Week 2 Readings

The main frustration we talked about in class last week, and a theme that came up throughout the O’Donnell reading, was standardization. The narrative of his article was that, in general, online tools and editions (mostly editions) have become increasingly standardized, and these standard expectations have been a good thing. Digital editions are easier to work with, because they had to be more standardized to be usable to more viewers with the rise of the internet.

But manuscript repositories are still so scattered, with apparently little consistency between them as to what information is provided about texts and objects. Are repositories stuck in a pre-internet age of vastly varying standards and tightly controlled usage for a specific audience? And wouldn’t simplicity and adherence to strict standards allow online resources to be even more democratic (since simple sites are easier to use with poor internet access)?

That leads me to my second question: in the interim between O’Donnell and Unsworth, and us today, have there been developments in crowdsourcing repositories or editions? Both seemed to value the potential of online networks of contributors, and O’Donnell praised Wikipedia’s functionality and reach. But both also seemed to see the hurdles between themselves and successfully crowdsourced tools/editions as very daunting.

Are we any closer to a repository, edition, or tool with crowd-source-ability? It seems to me that this might help accomplish the immense task of providing standard information on the zillions of digitized MSS out there.


17 January 2017