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?