Words like community bring out the warm fuzzies in me, until I start to think about the complexities of actually working in a community and negotiating among different perspectives. I’m wondering what scholarship might mean in an intensely collaborative and social Web 2.0 environment, so I began by trying to wikify my research project (morphing a dissertation on bachelors into digital scholarship). As I opened up my writing to others, I had two big fears:
- No one will participate, so there won’t be much of an experiment in community at all. Still, I will be able to view my own revision history and gain some understanding about how going digital is changing my research. (This seems like the more likely prospect.)
- People will participate, and I’ll lose control over my work. Do I really want people rewriting my research project? Will the ideas still be mine? What if vandals rampage my writing?
I decided that a system that allows comments rather than complete re-writing was more appropriate, so I decided to use the Institute for the Future of the Book’s Comment Press application, an add-on to the Word Press blogging platform. Several other collaborative authoring project are using Comment Press, including The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age with HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), GAM3R 7H30RY 1.1 by McKenzie Wark, and The Iraq Study Group Report with Lapham’s Quarterly.