Virtual Knowledge

Virtual Knowledge: Experimenting in the Humanities and the Social Sciences

PAUL WOUTERS
ANNE BEAULIEU
ANDREA SCHARNHORST
SALLY WYATT
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 272
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vjrxn
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  • Book Info
    Virtual Knowledge
    Book Description:

    Today we are witnessing dramatic changes in the way scientific and scholarly knowledge is created, codified, and communicated. This transformation is connected to the use of digital technologies and the virtualization of knowledge. In this book, scholars from a range of disciplines consider just what, if anything, is new when knowledge is produced in new ways. Does knowledge itself change when the tools of knowledge acquisition, representation, and distribution become digital? Issues of knowledge creation and dissemination go beyond the development and use of new computational tools. The book, which draws on work from the Virtual Knowledge Studio, brings together research on scientific practice, infrastructure, and technology. Focusing on issues of digital scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, the contributors discuss who can be considered legitimate knowledge creators, the value of "invisible" labor, the role of data visualization in policy making, the visualization of uncertainty, the conceptualization of openness in scholarly communication, data floods in the social sciences, and how expectations about future research shape research practices. The contributors combine an appreciation of the transformative power of the virtual with a commitment to the empirical study of practice and use.The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-30575-4
    Subjects: Technology, Library Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. INTRODUCTION TO VIRTUAL KNOWLEDGE
    (pp. 1-24)
    SALLY WYATT, ANDREA SCHARNHORST, ANNE BEAULIEU and PAUL WOUTERS

    This book is about newly emerging forms of knowledge. Since the late 1990s, many scientists, scholars, and funding agencies have paid attention to the application of advanced information and communication technologies in academic research. Initially, this was framed as a revolution to be triggered by computational technologies (NRC 1999). This wave of enthusiasm enabled the mobilization of large-scale resources for the further development of new paradigms in computer science, ultimately leading to the creation of a cyberinfrastructure for research in the United States (Atkins et al. 2003) and the e-science program in the United Kingdom (Hey and Trefethen 2002), among...

  5. 1 AUTHORITY AND EXPERTISE IN NEW SITES OF KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION
    (pp. 25-56)
    ANNE BEAULIEU, SARAH DE RIJCKE and BAS VAN HEUR

    Much has been written recently about user-generated content entering and reshaping circulatory matrices of media and power, and about how new media practices redefine the role of cultural producers (Jenkins 2006; Bruns 2008). For example, platforms like Flickr have been hailed as sites of new literacies and creativities (Burgess 2009), and blogs are implicated in debates about how new dynamics in information and news production are reshaping the public sphere. Changes also seem to be taking place in other areas of knowledge production, as evidenced by phenomena such as crowd sourcing and social information filtering, implemented and arising from sites...

  6. 2 WORKING IN VIRTUAL KNOWLEDGE: AFFECTIVE LABOR IN SCHOLARLY COLLABORATION
    (pp. 57-88)
    SMILJANA ANTONIJEVIĆ, STEFAN DORMANS and SALLY WYATT

    Scholarly work, especially in the humanities and the social sciences, is often seen as solitary. The lone, creative individual, reading and writing while sitting on a chair and gazing out a window, is a powerful image even as it draws attention to the very unglamorous nature of such work. This image of routine, often rather lonely activity contrasts sharply with the much more exciting image of teams of scientists working together in a laboratory, collecting samples, analyzing data, and sharing ideas. But the reality of scholarly work in the humanities and the social sciences has always been otherwise. Scholars in...

  7. 3 EXPLORING UNCERTAINTY IN KNOWLEDGE REPRESENTATIONS: CLASSIFICATIONS, SIMULATIONS, AND MODELS OF THE WORLD
    (pp. 89-126)
    MATTHIJS KOUW, CHARLES VAN DEN HEUVEL and ANDREA SCHARNHORST

    Uncertainty is often explained as a lack of knowledge, or as an aspect of knowledge that implies a degree of unknowability. Such interpretations can result in commitments to acquire more information about a particular situation, system, or phenomenon, with the hope of avoiding further surprises. In addition, in some cases uncertainty is interpreted as evidence that “objective” knowledge cannot be attained. The above quotation from Latour’sRe-assembling the Socialmay appear to echo such ideas, but, as Latour admits, “[p]aradoxically, this ‘astronomical’ ignorance explains a lot of things…. We have to be able to consider both the formidable inertia of...

  8. 4 VIRTUALLY VISUAL: THE VISUAL RHETORIC OF GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS IN POLICY MAKING
    (pp. 127-150)
    REBECCA MOODY, MATTHIJS KOUW and VICTOR BEKKERS

    A number of authors, among them John Berger (1972), Jean-François Lyotard (1993), William Mitchell (1992), Stuart Hall (1997), and Laura Mulvey (1973), have argued that we live in a visual culture: that societies rely more and more on the use of visual material, and the importance of visual material appears to be increasing accordingly. One reason for this is the increasing ubiquity of media and technologies that have enabled the creation and diffusion of images in unforeseen ways. Another reason behind the importance of visual material relates to its rhetorical aspects: the perceived ability of visual material to illustrate, to...

  9. 5 SLOPPY DATA FLOODS OR PRECISE SOCIAL SCIENCE METHODOLOGIES? DILEMMAS IN THE TRANSITION TO DATA-INTENSIVE RESEARCH IN SOCIOLOGY AND ECONOMICS
    (pp. 151-182)
    CLEMENT LEVALLOIS, STEPHANIE STEINMETZ and PAUL WOUTERS

    What are the implications of the emergence of new data sources for scientific and scholarly research? In 2008 this question was provocatively raised in an article by Chris Anderson, editor in chief of the journalWired. He claims that scientists need no longer rely on hypothesis or experimentation. Increasingly, we will all be children of “The Petabyte age.” According to Anderson, “at the petabyte scale, information is not a matter of simple three- and four-dimensional taxonomy and order, but of dimensionally agnostic statistics.” This calls for “an entirely different approach,” one that no longer aims for visualization of data in...

  10. 6 BEYOND OPEN ACCESS: A FRAMEWORK FOR OPENNESS IN SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION
    (pp. 183-218)
    CLIFFORD TATUM and NICHOLAS W. JANKOWSKI

    Formal and informal communication practices have evolved in different ways in response to digital media. Journal publications and books have changed very little beyond creating digital versions nearly identical in structure to their print counterparts. The growing body of research on open access to scholarly publications sheds some light on scholarly communication and digital media, but with a primary focus on formally published work. This is not to suggest a misplaced focus; it does, however, point to gaps in our understanding of evolving modes of informal communication, particularly regarding the use of digital media and the new possibilities of openness...

  11. 7 VIRTUAL KNOWLEDGE IN FAMILY HISTORY: VISIONARY TECHNOLOGIES, RESEARCH DREAMS, AND RESEARCH AGENDAS
    (pp. 219-250)
    JAN KOK and PAUL WOUTERS

    This chapter analyzes the role of technology in the shaping of research agendas in a field at the interface between the humanities and the social sciences: the history of the family. Family history emerged in the 1970s as a vibrant subfield of social history. It aspired to retrieve the history of “daily life” of the nameless masses, which had always been overlooked in traditional history. Quantification was eagerly adopted as a way to process and reveal meaningful patterns in the snippets of information on ordinary persons found in, for example, tax records, censuses, and parish records of baptisms, marriages, and...

  12. ABOUT THE AUTHORS
    (pp. 251-254)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 255-262)