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Filosofie van informatie en media

Voorkant Borgman 'Scholarship in the digital age' Christine L. BORGMAN
Scholarship in the digital age - Information, infrastructure, and the internet
Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2007; 326 blzn.
ISBN-13: 978 02 6202 6192

[Borgman geeft een goed en internationaal overzicht over de ontwikkelingen op het terrein van informatiebronnen voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek. Hoe kunnen onderzoekers de (digitale) informatieovervloed hanteren? Hoe kan de kwaliteit van de informatiebronnen bewaakt worden? Hoe kan 24/7 toegang geregeld worden? Hoe om te gaan met intellectuueel eigendom? En zo verder.]

[Borgman's kracht - haar enorme kennis van zaken - is tegelijkertijd haar zwakheid. Werkelijk alles wordt van de planken gehaald, afgestoft en benoemd. Op een gegeven moment gaat het je duizelen. Het laat weliswaar zien hoe complex de wereld van het wetenschappelijk onderzoek is, maar het maakt ook dat Borgman's boek op een gegeven moment behoorlijk slaapverwekkend wordt.]

[Je kunt soms ook TE veel recht willen doen aan een werkelijkheid. Al die details maken toch ook bijzonder onzichtbaar waar het om gaat. Wat - bijvoorbeeld - moet er technisch verbeteren aan die informatie-infrastructuur? Wat sociaal? Ik kan na het lezen van het boek niet direct zeggen wat de antwoorden zijn op die vragen.]

Alle on line informatie creëert enorme kansen voor onderzoekers, maar leidt ook tot volledig andere relaties tussen "scholars, publishers, librarians, universities, funding agencies, businesses, and other stakeholders"(xvii) Dit boek buigt zich over de vraag welke informatie-infrastructuur er het beste gebouwd kan worden om de nieuwe mogelijkheden ook werkelijk uit te baten.

"Scholarly infrastructure also must be understood in the context of legal, policy, and economic arrangements. The 'open-access movement' to expand the availability of scholarly publications, data, and other information resources is grounded in several centuries of Western thought about 'open science'. Open science, in turn, is based on economic principles of public goods. The ethos of sharing that is fundamental to open science and scholarship is threatened by the expansion in scope and duration of copyright protection and patents. These tensions, in turn, are reflected in new forms of publishing and licensing, such as the 'information commons' or 'knowledge commons'. The many stakeholders in scholarly information infrastructure are addressing their own territories, whether technical, legal, economic, social, or political, or in individual research domains, but few are taking a big-picture view of the interaction of these factors."(xviii)

(1) 1 - Scholarship at a Crossroads

Academici en studenten zijn tegnwoordig eigenlijk voortdurend on line. En ondanks alle onzin die je daar vindt, bestaat er ook bijzonder veel waardevolle informatie, zoals digitale (academische) tijdschriften, databases met onderzoeksdata, ontwerpen en preprints van artikelen, regeringsrapporten. Er wordt op grote schaal geïnvesteerd in de infrastructuur daarvoor.

"Once built, it will not easily be changed. History reveals that early decisions in technology design often have profound implications for the trajectory of that technology. Now is the time to determine what we should be building."(2)

Allerlei nieuwe problemen en vragen duiken op. Veiligheid is een punt. De kwaliteit van informatie ook. Intellectueel eigendom is ineens voortdurend in discussie. Het is ook nog onduidelijk welke technieken voor communicatie de grootste rol gaan spelen. Daarnaast is er discussie over netneutraliteit. En het is eveneens onhelder hoe je de overvloed aan informatie het beste kunt benaderen..

"The larger the database, the more fine-grained the retrieval methods, ranking algorithms, postprocessing capabilities, and visualization tools required."(7)

Vanwege de enorme hoeveelheden aan informatie is ook de beschrijving van documenten (in brede zin) een aadachtspunt. Dus zowel de invoer in het systeem en de indexatie daarbij als het zoeken en ophalen van informatie op basis van trefwoorden en dergelijke vormen een groot probleem. Daarnaast speelt voortdurend het behoud en het beheer van al die informatie een rol, omdat technieken om de informatie weer te geven verouderen.

Inmiddels gaat het ook niet meer alleen om teksten met tabellen en plaatjes. Allerlei datasets, allerlei media worden door onderzoekers gebruikt voor hun onderzoek en opgenomen in hun publicaties. Er bestaan steeds meer manieren om iets te publiceren, allerlei varianten van artikelen gaan een eigenleven leiden op Internet, het wordt daardoor moeilijk om eenheid te bewaren en controle te hebben over de kwaliteit.

"The proliferation of digital content is part of the evolution, revolution, or crisis in scholarly communication, depending on the perspective taken. Authors, libraries, universities, and publishers are wrestling with the trade-offs between traditional forms of publisher-controlled dissemination and author- or institution-controlled forms of open access publishing. At issue are the forms of peer review, the speed of dissemination, the ease of access, the cost, who pays the cost (e.g., the author, library, or reader), and preservation. While these battles are under way, variant forms of documents proliferate, and the librarian’s ideal of 'universal bibliographic control' slips ever further away. "(9)

(13) 2 - Building the Scholarly Infrastructure

Eerst korte uitleg over de technieken die de basis vormen van die informatie-infrastructuur: Internet, WWW, grid computing, digitale bibliotheken, (data) archieven.

"Information infrastructure is used here as a collective term for the technical, social, and political framework that encompasses the people, technology, tools, and services used to facilitate the distributed, collaborative use of content over time and distance."(19)

Volgt een beschrijving van nationale en internationale initiatieven om die infrastructuur voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek en informatie-uitwisseling uit te breiden en te verbeteren.

"Among the strongest claims for digital scholarship is that it will enable fundamentally new kinds of research that heretofore were not possible. What is 'new' is rarely made explicit, though."(30)

(33) 3 - Embedded Everywhere

"An important step in examining directions for digital scholarship is to make the invisible assumptions visible."(33)

Bijvoorbeeld over het verschil dat er zou bestaan tussen pure en toegepaste wetenschap (met een negatieve gevoelswaarde aan de laatste). Het is een problematisch, tamelijk zinloos onderscheid.

"Technology and research are intertwined and mutually influencing in many respects. Creating an advanced information infrastructure requires designing and deploying technology with specific uses in mind. Identifying those uses requires an understanding of the social and political contexts in which information infrastructure exists. To reach that understanding, research is needed in many fields, from many perspectives. Much of it may be 'use-inspired basic research', whether from the viewpoint of the researcher, the funder, or the user."(35)

Een andere vooronderstelling is dat wetenschap open moet zijn en kennis gedeeld moet worden.

"Open science has come under threat in recent years due to changes in intellectual property regimes, an increasing emphasis on data as scientific capital, and new models of electronic publishing. Emerging models of scholarship such as open access publishing and knowledge commons reflect efforts to reinstate the fundamental principles of open science."(36)

"The social studies of knowledge, science, and technology are referred to collectively as “STS.” The initialism is interpreted (if spelled out at all) as science, technology, and society; science and technology studies; social studies of science and technology (Van House 2004); or sociotechnical systems. STS has its origins in sociology, anthropology, communication, philosophy, feminist theory, and the history of science."(37)

"Among the theoretical and methodological approaches of STS relevant to digital scholarship are the social shaping of technology (MacKenzie and Wajcman 1999; Schwartz Cowan 1985), actor-network theory (acknowledged by its proponents to be a method rather than a theory) (Callon 1986; Callon, Law, and Rip 1986; Kaghan and Bowker 2001; Latour 1987), laboratory studies (Latour and Woolgar 1986), the social construction of technology (Bijker, Hughes, and Pinch 1987; Kline and Pinch 1999), epistemic cultures (Knorr-Cetina 1999), work practices (Lave and Wenger 1991; Suchman 1987), and the diffusion of innovations (Rogers 1995). These are explored further in chapters 7 and 8."(38)

"The confluence of information studies and social studies of knowledge, science, and technology is a fertile plain on which to explore long-standing questions about behavior, technology, and policy. "(39)

De aandacht gaat op het moment nog erg uit naar de technische kant van de informatie-infrastructuur en veel minder naar de informatie die er de inhoud en het doel van gaat vormen. Daarom een analyse van het idee 'informatie'. Er bestaan uiteraard verschillende definities van, variërend van de puur technische als die van Shannon tot aan betekenisvolle informatie.

"The technology of e-Research is not an end in itself. Rather, it must serve the purposes of its users, which are to conduct research, share that research with others, and learn. The best technologies often are those that are the least visible. Whether e-Research is deemed a success will depend on the degree to which it enhances scholarship and learning. People want to spend less time wrestling with technology, and more time doing science or social science, studying the humanities, or learning in those disciplines."(43)

(47) 4 - The Continuity of Scholarly Communication

Gaat over de verschillende vormen van communicatie binnen het academisch / wetenschappelijk onderzoek.

"Communication is the essence of scholarship, as many observers have said in many ways (Garvey 1979; Meadows 1974, 1998; Paisley 1984). Scholarship is an inherently social activity, involving a wide range of public and private interactions within a research community. Publication, as the public report of research, is part of a continuous cycle of reading, writing, discussing, searching, investigating, presenting, submitting, and reviewing. No scholarly publication stands alone. Each new work in a field is positioned relative to others through the process of citing relevant literature.

Between the most public and private forms of communication lies a wide range of channels and activities. Scholars communicate with each other not only through books and journals but also through manuscripts, preprints, articles, abstracts, reprints, seminars, and conference presentations. Over the course of the twentieth century, they interacted intensively in person, by telephone, and through the postal mail. Scholars in the twenty-first century continue to use those channels, while also communicating via e-mail, blogs, and chat. New dissemination channels for written work include personal Web sites, preprint archives, and institutional repositories."(47)

Het aantal middelen is dus erg toegenomen, maar het doel is opmerkelijk stabiel gebleven. Wel is er sprake van een verschuiving van communicatie in de privé-sfeer (mondeling, in brieven, lezingen in kleine kring) naar meer openbare communicatie (email, forums, chats, publicatie van lezingen, preprints en zo verder op Internet).

"Online communication has accelerated the amount of informal communication among scholars and simplified the dissemination of formal products of scholarship."(49)

Met ander woorden: de tijd tussen het voltooien van een manuscript en de officiële publicatie ervan is een heel stuk korter geworden. Van de andere kant is daardoor het bewaken van kwaliteit (bijvoorbeeld via 'peer review') in gevaar gekomen.

"Open science and the open flow of information are essential to the exchange of ideas. Sharing knowledge is the social glue that holds academic communities together, and publication is the coin of the realm. As the processes and structures of scholarly communication evolve, basic tenets of peer review and intellectual property that underlie the open science model are being questioned."(56)

"The functions of scholarly communication can be grouped into three categories: legitimization; dissemination; and access, preservation, and curation."(66)

"Scholars are researchers, authors, peer reviewers, mentors, advisors, editors, teachers, and often administrators. Of all these roles, it is as authors that they leave the most lasting mark on the scholarly record."(69)

(75) 5 - The Discontinuity of Scholarly Publishing

De meeste betrokkenen zijn het er wel over eens dat er grote veranderingen gaande zijn onder invloed van al die nieuwe technische middelen.

"This chapter explores both the opportunities and the threats to scholarship wrought by the evolution of scholarly publishing in the digital age."(76)

Volgt een schier eindeloze opsomming van allerlei problemen en kansen, ontwikkelingen en standen van zaken. Over 'open access' en intellectueel eigendom:

"The open access movement emerged in the mid-1990s and was flourishing by the mid-2000s. A categorized, scholarly bibliography on the topic lists more than thirteen hundred sources (Bailey 2005). Yet the word 'open' appears so frequently in discussions of publishing and technology that it has lost a clear sense of meaning: open archives, open repositories, open access, open source, and so on. Generally speaking, these uses of the term refer to minimal restrictions on use; frequently they mean that something is available without direct monetary payment. Complicating matters further, the word free is often used in defining open, without making Richard Stallman’s (2002) famous distinction between 'free speech' and 'free beer'."(100)

"At the core of most debates about open access and other new models of scholarly publishing are competing ideas regarding intellectual property. Stakeholders differ in their opinions concerning who should hold what rights in what content, over what period of time, and at what price."(105)

"The original purpose of the copyright was to promote human progress by making ideas more widely available. All too often in current discourse, though, its purpose appears to be control and protection rather than dissemination and access. "(105)

"The public domain has become much smaller due to the expansion in the scope of material that can be copyrighted and the extension of the copyright term’s length. The initial length of a copyright in the U.S. Constitution was fourteen years. Until 1978, the initial term was twenty-eight years, and had to be renewed to maintain protection beyond that point. The pre-1978 requirement to affix a copyright notice resulted in about 95 percent of everything written becoming part of the public domain immediately (Boyle and Jenkins 2003; Litman 2001). Under current law, documents automatically are copyrighted when set in a fixed form, whether print or digital. In the United States, a copyright now extends seventy years after the author’s death, and even longer for some materials (Copyright Term Extension Act 1998)."(106-107)

Over 'fair use':

"Fair use is another complex and misunderstood aspect of copyright law. Notions of fair use, which had been interpreted by the courts, were codified in the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 so that use "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship or research, is not an infringement of copyright" (Copyright Act 2000, sec. 107). Four conditions are considered in determining whether a use is infringing or fair: "(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work" (Copyright Act 2000, sec. 107). Each of these four factors is a judgment call, and the final arbiter may be a judge in an infringement case. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act places additional limitations on fair use, especially for digital content. The U.S. Copyright Office offers this advice: "The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material" (Copyright Circular 2000)."

"As the public domain has narrowed, the need to obtain permission has expanded. For scholars in most fields, much of the scholarly evidence on which they rely is now under copyright. Some publications that previously were in the public domain were brought back under copyright with the most recent term extension. Locating the copyright owner to ask permission can be extremely difficult. Current copyright law in most countries does not require works to be registered, so no clearinghouse exists to determine who may own what."(107-108)

(115) 6 - Data: Input and Output of Scholarship

Over de rol die digitale 'data sets' voortaan kunnen spelen in academisch onderzoek.

"The predicted data deluge is already a reality in many fields. Scientific instruments are generating data at greater speeds, densities, and detail than heretofore possible. Older data are being digitized from print and analog forms at a prodigious rate. As data storage capacity increases and storage cost decreases, preserving these vast amounts of data is becoming feasible. Improvements in searching, analysis, and visualization tools are enabling scholars to interpret ever-larger amounts of data."

"This wealth of data and tools offers an array of research opportunities for the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Data sets are becoming an end product of research, supplementing the traditional role of scholarly publications. Open science and open scholarship depend on access to publications, and often to the data on which they are based. If related data and documents can be linked together in a scholarly information infrastructure, creative new forms of data- and information-intensive, distributed, collaborative, multidisciplinary research and learning become possible. Data are outputs of research, inputs to scholarly publications, and inputs to subsequent research and learning. Thus they are the foundation of scholarship."(115)

Maar helaas is er nog geen infrastructuur voor zoals voor boeken en tijdschriften en bepaalde digitale media.

"An information infrastructure that can maintain links between the associated data, publications, and interim forms of communication will enhance the value chain of scholarship. Scholarly documents and the data on which they are based are much more valuable in combination than alone."(116)

Er zijn allerlei definities van en allerlei vormen. Borgman somt weer eindeloos veel op.

"Sources of data include observations, computations, experiments, and record keeping. Observational data include weather measurements, which are associated with specific places and times, and attitude surveys, which also might be associated with specific places and times (e.g., elections or natural disasters), or involve multiple places and times (e.g., cross-sectional, longitudinal studies). Computational data result from executing a computer model or simulation, whether for physics or cultural virtual reality. Replicating the model or simulation in the future may require extensive documentation of the hardware, software, and input data. In some cases, only the output of the model might be preserved. Experimental data include results from laboratory studies such as measurements of chemical reactions or from field experiments such as controlled behavioral studies. Whether sufficient data and documentation to reproduce the experiment are kept varies by the cost and repro- ducibility of the experiment. Records of government, business, and public and private life also yield useful data for scientific, social scientific, and humanistic research (Hodge and Frangakis 2005; Long-Lived Digital Data Collections 2005)."(120)

Het delen van data moet nog groeien:

"In most fields, scholars have few incentives to invest the necessary effort to make data useful to others; indeed, many disincentives exist."(125)

Ook kwaliteitscontrole is hier een onderwerp van belang. Hoe betrouwbaar zijn die 'data sets'? En wordt dan gecontroleerd? En welke manieren zijn er om dat te doen?

"Certifying the quality of data, in any sense comparable to certifying the quality of scholarly articles, is among the most problematic aspects of the value chain. Individual repositories have standards and best practices for the description of data, the use of specific metadata formats, documentation, and other characteristics. Even with these standards and practices in place, it is difficult to judge how 'good' deposited data are in any objective sense. Data centers vary widely in their evaluation practices, from a cursory review of structural characteristics to intensive reviews by panels of scientific peers. Some data centers ask other scientists to “test drive the data” before accepting it."(134)

(149) 7 - Building an Infrastructure for Information

[Het is me eigenlijk nog steeds niet duidelijk waarom er een nieuwe infrastructuur gebouwd moet worden. Blijkbaar loopt heel dat complexe gebeuren op het moment via allerlei vormen van netwerken en digitale technologie. Gezien de complexiteit van het gebruik van informatie voor wetenschappelijk onderzoek en de hele cultuur er om heen, die Borgman zo in overvloed schildert, kan ik me niet voorstellen dat er zo maar een nieuwe informatie-infrastructuur gebouwd zou kunnen worden die goed samengaat met die complexiteit van de academische praktijk.]

In dit hoofdstuk aandacht voor de verschillen tussen de vele wetenschappelijke disciplines. Bovendien gaat het niet alleen om 'disciplines' (vakken, velden, specialismen), maar ook om allerlei samenwerkingsvormen tussen wetenschappelijk onderzoekers (interdisciplinaire projecten, praktijkgemeenschappen, werkgroepen, en zo verder. Weer wat citaten:

"Scholars seem to be even more dependent on library services for access to scholarly publications than in the past. Personal subscriptions to journals have declined substantially. Faculty and students have been known to panic when unable to access online library services, whether due to system failures or incorrect authentication settings. Students’ dependence on these services becomes especially apparent when they graduate and no longer have access. (...)"

"Reading habits also are changing. Scholars are reading more articles now than they were a decade or two earlier, as evidenced by longitudinal studies of reading behavior. They are not spending more time reading; they appear to be spending less time per article. "(156)

"Humans remain important sources of information, whether for direct answers (i.e., the person is the information resource) or pointers to other sources (e.g., people, data sets, documents, libraries, government agencies, and research groups). E-mail, videoconferencing, online chats, telephones, text messaging, and other communication technologies extend the opportunities for interpersonal information seeking."(157)

"The sciences have the longest runs of journals online. Scientists read and publish in journals more than in books, and they rely on more recent literature than do other disciplines. Therefore, scientists are the most advantaged in accessing the relevant publications for their research. Humanists and social scientists are relatively disadvantaged, having shorter runs of their journals online, and relying on books in addition to journals, and drawing on older literature. As the access to monographic literature online improves through mass digitization projects and digital publishing, the balance between disciplines will improve. Until the retrospective conversion of journals in the social sciences and humanities is accomplished, these fields will continue to have less of the literature they require for their research online."(159)

(179) 8 - Disciplines, Documents, and Data

"A discipline-based examination of artifacts and practices reveals both common and competing requirements for information infrastructure. The nature of artifacts, the associated practices, and the incentives for scholars to contribute their work to the content layer are assessed first for the sciences, then the social sciences, and lastly the humanities. The sciences are addressed first and in the most depth because they are the most widely studied, and because analyses of practice and policy in the social sciences and humanities often are based on comparisons to the sciences. Issues that cross disciplines are introduced in the context of the sciences and then compared in subsequent sections."(179)

"In sum, the humanities draw on the longest literature time span of any of the disciplines, and yet have the least amount of their scholarly literature online. So far, they are the discipline most poorly served by the publications component of the content layer. Their situation soon may change radically, however. The mass digitization projects currently underway, such as the Open Content Alliance, Google Print, and other partnerships mentioned in chapter 5, promise to make scholarly books much more widely available online. As the heaviest users of the older monographic literature being digitized, humanities scholars are likely to reap the greatest benefits from these projects."(215)

(227) 9 - The View from Here

[Om een indruk te geven van de abstractiegraad van dit boek:]

"Work is well under way to build an advanced information infrastructure to support scholarship and learning within the rubrics of cyberinfrastructure, e-Science, e-Research, e-Infrastructure, and other terms soon to be invented. The details and deployments are changing too quickly to be captured here. Printed books such as this one are better forums to explore goals and principles in depth than to report current details, in any case. What is clear at this stage is that information is more crucial to scholarship than is the infrastructure per se. The content will outlive any technical architecture. Scholarly information is expensive to produce, requiring investments in expertise, instrumentation, fieldwork, laboratories, libraries, and archives. The economics of information are different from those of hard goods in that most of the expense and effort are involved in producing the first 'copy'. The subsequent copying and distribution costs for information in digital form are minimal. Yet the costs to make information permanently accessible are nontrivial. Digital documents, data sets, and composite objects must be maintained, migrated, and curated if they are to remain available and useful."

"Thus, the real value in information infrastructure is in the information. Building the content layer of that infrastructure is both the greatest challenge and the greatest potential payoff of these programs. Only when the content layer is robust can data mining and other services succeed."(227)

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