HASTAC stands for Humanites, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Laboratory. It is one of the most exciting online academic projects out there that I know of.
Based on the medieval model of the scholarly monk, academic research can often seem and in fact be solipsistic. Often the thoroughness required for postgraduate study hyper-specialises subjects and therefore leaves scholars with little time to actually communicate to others what they are doing.
The web is of course changing this dramatically, and even in an age in which “peer review” and “publish or perish” remain the terms to know, academic culture in the humanities is being quickly transformed. Teachers, researchers, librarians, academic administrators, university students and all possible combinations and variations thereof are now continually sharing publicly what they do and when, where and how they do it.
For people studying how Internet technology affects the way we do and think about things (and who study the Internet as a way or ways of thinking too), contributing to the social construction of knowledge inside and outside the brick-and-mortar classroom and library is not just a demand of the times, it is a natural, essential part of our research. HASTAC knows this well and is indeed, conceptually and pragmatically, an ongoing exercise in 21st century scholarship, blurring the borders between the institutional and the personal, the online and the offline, etc.
Therefore I am profoundly honoured to have been nominated and selected for the HASTAC Scholars Program. I’ll be one of more than 145 scholars from around the world who will share their adventures in digital academia through blog posts, tweets and other online resources. I am really proud and happy that my colleague Claire Ross and I will be representing University College London this year.
The 21st century scriptorium has many windows. It is not a room with a view but a room with many views; views that often juxtapose themselves. The screen and the keyboard (and often the screen as keyboard) can no longer be only at one single particular place and time on campus.
We all work from a particular situation in a specific location at a given time, but simultaneously there are hundreds, thousands of others working at their own desks in different countries, languages, time zones, disciplines. Establishing connections among us is not an end in itself; it’s merely the beginning.
The conversation continues.