Information, Inventory, Invention

I feel as if the blog itself is becoming very self-referential in this conversation of layering knowledge and information. There are now a number of blog posts that exist within this sphere of knowledge; some of the posts build on ideas from the current week’s topics while others pull ideas from past posts. Many of the posts contain comments that either add to the knowledge presented or raise questions for further investigation.

Sacha’s post about building on others ideas, mainly on Wikipedia, brought to mind Peter Stallybrass’s article and how we need reject the idea of originality and instead utilize the database of shared ideas. The idea of layering references and information in databases can help transform the way education is traditionally thought of. Stallybrass states that, “databases can help free us from the tyranny of proprietary authors, solitary thinkers who produce knowledge out of their own minds” (1583). Instead of education being about individual accomplishment or a competition of ideas, it becomes cooperative and collaborative. Technology has been essential in transitioning to this new model of education.

Sydney’s post, where she discusses incorporating technology in pedagogy, made me think of how we are incorporating technology into the classroom. The blog incorporates technology in a practical way that allows for greater interaction with peers and increased student engagement. Furthermore, it helps foster a sense of collective authorship and learning.

As a result we become more critical readers, authors and editors, which is important when drawing from a database full of seemingly limitless information. And this is important for using databases most efficiently to promote innovation. Stallybrass quotes Mary Carruthers: “Having ‘inventory’ is a requirement for ‘invention’” (1582). The blog represents an inventory of knowledge and demonstrates how useful technology is for being an aid for education as well as a form of collective authorship.

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3 Responses to Information, Inventory, Invention

  1. emily.holmes says:

    I think Sarah’s point about the “layering” of knowledge and information is a really good way to describe our role as scholars in this critical edition. The term “layer” stands out to me because layering involves a base in which all of the other information is placed on top of. In this case, the base text is “The Tales of John Oliver Hobbes”, in which we are adding several different other “layers” to (such as our commentary on this blog and our upcoming annotations). This notion of layering relates to the Stalleybrass piece in that it touches on the “culture of secrecy” and the fear of public scholarship, as there is the potential that the layers will work against the original text and hide it.

    I guess that it is our role as scholars to make sure that these different layers work in a positive manner and avoid outshining the original text in which they are metaphorically layered on top of.

  2. duttpuneet says:

    Of course I can understand that there are no original ideas, but that Stalleybrass quote “databases can help free us from the tyranny of proprietary authors, solitary thinkers who produce knowledge out of their own minds” (1583) makes the database of shared ideas sounds so wonderful and utopian. “Instead of education being about individual accomplishment or a competition of ideas, it becomes cooperative and collaborative.” In a theoretical gaze, I can understand that, but in practice, competition drives the ideas. Layering knowledge also risks what Sven Birkerts writes in ‘Reading in a Digital Age’ as something we glance over. Limitless knowledge means we risk only grazing the tips of things. And while technology has aided education, it has also impeded structures in place that are used to inform. Students can loose touch with the physical, and grow attached to a cyber world, which they begin to think will provide them with all of the knowledge and information. They can forget the physical layering of floors upon floors of books, shelves pressed against shelves. In essence, a healthy dose of both feeds the soul. An organic and technological monster.

  3. clairefarley says:

    I also found Stallybrass’s observations really interesting. He seems to be suggesting that the database is the pinnacle of certain cultural understandings that have developed over recent decades: “the database renews our sense of language as ‘a tissue of quotations’ from which we cannot, even if we wanted to, remove ourselves”. If this is the case, is database the inevitable materialization of a literal inventory from which we invent?

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