[Humanist] 29.413 no index (but a TOC); if not online?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Oct 22 07:40:38 CEST 2015


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 413.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    "Martin, Worthy N. (wnm)" <wnm at eservices.virginia.edu>     (8)
        Subject: RE:  29.408 no index!

  [2]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>          (32)
        Subject: if not online?


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2015 13:08:54 +0000
        From: "Martin, Worthy N. (wnm)" <wnm at eservices.virginia.edu>
        Subject: RE:  29.408 no index!
        In-Reply-To: <20151021051909.42DFE6C3E at digitalhumanities.org>


Willard,
  Hello. Yet, he does provide a Table Of Contents.
Isn't that a "page-order" index (rather than an "alphabetic-by-topic-name" index)?

Cheers,
  Worthy

>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 408.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                        www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                 Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
> 
>         Date: Tue, 20 Oct 2015 16:47:06 +0100
>         From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>         Subject: no index
> 
> I was recently reminded of how much can change and has changed because
> of the tools we have now by a sentence in the Preface of George Pólya's
> Induction and Analogy in Mathematics (Princeton 1954), which is volume I
> of Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning. This is it, from p. ix:
> 
>> I have not provided an index, since an index would tend to render the
>> terminology more rigid than it is desirable in this kind of work.
> 
> I firmly believe in the principle of tradeoff when applied judiciously.
> This principle says that for everything you gain you lose something
> else. (Plato, I recall, argued more or less the same thing with regards
> to whole lives.) Polya, I think, presents us with a clear case. I'd
> suppose that the best response is to figure out the consequences, and at
> least in some instances, in one's own life, to attempt return to the
> world of deeply immersive reading, with no indexes or searching
> capabilities.
> 
> Comments?
> 
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
> Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
> Group, University of Western Sydney

--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2015 06:23:15 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: if not online
        In-Reply-To: <20151021051909.42DFE6C3E at digitalhumanities.org>


Scott F. Johnson's "If it's not online and free, then it's not 
published" (http://tinyurl.com/q2nts8l) comes close to the pragmatics of 
my own research, and perhaps yours too, but in my case with one enormous 
exception: sustained reading. Only when forced by circumstance do I read 
at length from a screen. 

Many of us seem to exhibit a tendency to play down if not ignore 
while being (I am convinced) profoundly affected by the physicality, 
aesthetics and pragmatics of our environments, including sources of the 
written word. Take, for example, Johnson's choice to have most of his 
text rendered in light grey against a white background. Physically 
painful, headache-inducing eye-strain anyone? A text which fights rather 
than aids comprehension, one which implicitly argues against itself?

The finite economics of publishing constrains what can be done, 
but I question the wisdom of running so quickly away from 
printing on paper as if the choice were a simple, obvious either/or. 
Again, allow me to highlight the wisdom of Pólya's "no index", while at 
the same time recognizing that I have his book thanks to archive.org, 
read it on screen (because in practical terms I must) and have indeed 
perused the table of contents. I prefer to think I'm not contradicting 
myself but maintaining a both/and, from a desk and in a house littered 
everywhere with printed books, many of them de-commissioned library 
volumes.

So, when us scholarly digirati take a straight look at what we actually do, 
what does the present (never mind the future) look like? And when we 
think about possible futures, what do we want our working environment 
to be like?

Yours,
WM

-- 
Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
Group, University of Western Sydney



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