[Humanist] 27.87 silo

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Jun 4 22:14:46 CEST 2013


                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 87.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2013 12:18:21 -0400
        From: Lucy Barber <lucy.barber at nara.gov>
        Subject: Re:  27.25 silo
        In-Reply-To: <20130516052639.235323B4F at digitalhumanities.org>


In the late nineteenth century as larger "silos" were developed, people's
attitudes to them varied depended on their place in the producer cycle.
Grain distributors who owned silos paid farmers lower prices at harvest
and then hoped to sell the grain at higher prices throughout the year.  As
a result, the American Populist Movement and cooperative movement sometimes
created their own silos.  And large farmers could build their own silos to
also avoid having to sell at harvest time when the prices were lowest.  An
excellent but long book on this transformation is William Cronon's Nature's
Metropolis.

So I think like then, silos depend on the position of the producer, the
distributor, and the consumer.  As someone who is no longer associated with
an academic institution, I like information that is available to me rather
than behind a paywall, even though I know it is not free to create
information or store it.  At one point as a producer of a book, I liked
that I got royalties, though now I would give them up if my publisher
agreed to make it available for free (because the amount of royalties is so
low not because I'm that generous).

[usual caveat, that these are my personal views and not that of my
employer, the U.S. National Archives)

On Thu, May 16, 2013 at 1:26 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <
willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 25.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>         Date: Wed, 15 May 2013 11:38:18 -0400
>         From: Daniel Griffin <dg39 at duke.edu>
>         Subject: Re:  27.22 partnerships, collaboration -- and words
>         In-Reply-To: <20130515053630.9933D3AC6 at digitalhumanities.org>
>
>
> Hello,
>
> I actually think I know the answer to this one! The word "silo" is derived
> from the Greek word σιρὀς (*siros*; cf. *OED*), which is literally "a pit
> (for storing grain)" (*LSJ*). This would be different, say, from the Greek
> word θησαυρός (thesauros), which is "a treasure store", though occasionally
> it can be used to mean something like a storehouse for grain (*LSJ*). The
> idea of a "pit" versus a "storehouse" can illuminate (maybe) some of the
> shades of meaning inherent in the two terms.
>
> That said, I believe that, when used of the academic disciplines, the term
> ""silo" is used to indicate the act of putting something away indefinitely,
> a "walling-off", if you will. The point of putting something into a silo is
> to protect the grains from the elements; in this way, to silo off a
> discipline is to not expose it to outside influences, or, more importantly,
> not expose it to outside criticism.
>
> I cannot offer a better metaphor, unfortunately. If you wanted to keep the
> food theme, something about "having a seat at the table" seems about right;
> the "big tent" metaphor has already been used in other contexts.
>
> Best,
> Daniel Griffin
>
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Daniel J. Griffin
> PhD Candidate, James B. Duke Fellow
> Humanities Writ Large Digital Humanities Assistant
> Duke University, Department of Classical Studies
> 233 Allen - Box 90103
> Durham, NC 27708-0103
> 734.657.5533
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On Wed, May 15, 2013 at 1:36 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <
> willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:
>
> >                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 22.
> >             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
> >                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
> >                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> >
> >
> >
> >         Date: Tue, 14 May 2013 12:20:47 +0100
> >         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
> >         Subject: partnerships and collaboration
> >
> >
> > Many here will be interested in William Pannapacker's "Cultivating
> > Partnerships in the Digital Humanities", Chronicle of Higher Education
> > for 13 May
> > (
> >
> http://chronicle.com/article/Cultivating-Partnerships-in/139161/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en
> > ).
> >
> > I admit to being curious about one of the newer bad words, "silo".
> > I didn't grow up on a farm, so I have no gut-level sense of this
> > structure for storing grain, but my understanding from books is
> > that a silo is a kind of treasure-house where the wealth of the
> > land is kept between harvest and distribution. I would think that
> > discipline-as-silo is rather good and highly complimentary. But
> > then for reasons I don't understand we seem quite easily and
> > quickly to polarize words, to eliminate shades of meaning so
> > that they're either entirely signs of approval or disapproval. Then,
> > as with the word "open", they become shelters for all manner of
> > quite shady meanings, e.g. "open" being open as long as you
> > pay, and shut until you do.
> >
> > Couldn't we do with a number of philologically serious people to
> > help improve the level of our discourse?
> >
> > Yours,
> > WM
> > --
> > Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
> > the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
> > London; Professor, School of Humanities and Communication Arts,
> > University of Western Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
> > (www.isr-journal.org); Editor, Humanist (dhhumanist.org);
> > www.mccarty.org.uk/

-- 
Lucy Barber
Deputy Executive Director
National Historical Publications & Records Commission, National Archives
700 Pennsylvania Ave, Room 114
Washington, DC 20408
202-357-5306   FAX 202-357-5914
www.archives.gov/nhprc





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