Is “doneness” a thing?

As our project with JOH has been coming to a close, our blog posts have touched on the topic of “doneness” and “completeness.” For the most part, this feeling of completeness seems to missing because these social editions are constantly in a state of flux, constantly being updated (or at least have the possibility of being easily updated). My own sense of anxiety over the social edition being “incomplete” stems from the need to be done (for good) and move on to a new project.That being said, in the age of web 2.0, we are in a constant state of flux – one that we embrace in some areas ( like social media – twitter provides a quick way to constantly update people on your life), so why can’t we embrace this in all areas – including academia?

I think that, as a bibliophile, the open-endedness of the internet makes me nervous. However, annotating JOH has taught me that “doneness” doesn’t really exist and the internet and social editions, just make this idea easier to embrace. Not only are social editions more accessible but they allow for easy updates – something that hard copies lack. To update a hard copy publication, one has to make changes and publish again. Suddenly, all previous editions are “useless” – so what do we do with them? Recycle (hopefully). Either way, social editions have created a method that stops multiple publications, which, in turn, helps to preserve our environment (yay!). Especially in academia, where there are always new developments, social editions become incredibly useful, as long as they are maintained. I think that if we can embrace this idea of the steadfastly “incomplete” edition, rather than being frightened by it, then we can change the face of publishing and academia … and wouldn’t that be something?

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4 Responses to Is “doneness” a thing?

  1. sasha.makarewicz says:

    I don’t think the nightmare will ever be over. But it is always this idea with the internet of always generating content and generating content. Everything doesn’t stop. Everything just keeps happening and piling up and nothing is really ever finished. And academics in general and artistic pursuits are these things we take on but we are never really finished learning or finished doing the things we want to do. We are always in this process of doing something and nothing really is ever finished.

    • margaret.milde says:

      Sasha- how pomo of you! I entirely agree, and I think Derrida would like your input. It seems that the internet exacerbates the constant slippage of meaning in our contemporary society, but not in a nihilistic way. It illustrates how meaning is in a constant state of evolution, pushing forward, breaking down binaries and never crystalizing. What is the internet if not fluid? I believe that it is a compelling argument for the wonder of the postmodern world.

    • nlikarev says:

      I think your comment has resonance with the “culture of doubt” discussed by the Humanities Panel last month. Doubt has always been the reality of our culture it is just that no one wants to admit it and the nature of the internet forces this reality out of the non-doubter. What would everything look like if we were willing to take on this doubting–the idea that there is only doneness and not done and only truest and not truth (in my mention of truest I am speaking to Keen’s Cult of the Amateur)?

  2. cstelman says:

    I think there is still something to be said, however, for the (I guess lack of fluidity?) in hard copy publications. How do we record these changes in meaning if digital publications can adapt to them so quickly? Are these “useless” publication really useless? Who decides what becomes relevant and what becomes irrelevant?

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