Monday, September 21, 2009

Which I is I; or, Does it Really Matter Who Gets Credit?

I've been considering authorship here... especially in the new media world of aggregators and aggregation, mashups, bricolage, social and other forms of Web 2.0 collaboration.

While definitions abound, most of them seem to be old school--informed by and addressing antiquated realities. For instance, I ran into the following Harvard University "Authorship Guidelines"--aimed ostensibly at insuring integrity in the promotion process, but used in other ways to validate the relationship between content and creator. Original research is a giant issue here. (Such, however, seems less important to a poet, though.)

Old school, yes, but what strikes me is the document evidences a contentious battle, instigated, likely, by a cultural shift regarding authorship (and probably copyright, intellectual property, and ownership) even in the Harvard Medical School:

The (can you say, "irony"?) anonymous author here, writes:

"In practice, various inducements have fostered authorship practices that fall short of these standards... Disputes sometimes arise about who should be listed as authors of an intellectual product.."

Seems like some not so hidden thievery is afoot. Seems like even at Harvard Medical School there are many political dimensions to authorship--even when they are not impacted by Web 2.0.

Next, how to consider and/or value authorship alongside:  content and communication (re)directors, producers, managers, sifters, mixers, samplers, and the like.

Check out this Keynote Address on "Mass Collaboration and the Future of Higher Education." If you don't have all the time in the world, move the time slider to 32 minutes, or so, and begin.


“Web 2.0 is all about remixing, not about designing. The best metaphor for web 2.0 is the DJ, not the composer. Web 2.0 is a product of remix culture.” Jonathan Boutelle

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