There is a post at one of the great academic web projects, the New Testament Gateway Blog, on the WikiScanner. Dr. Mark Goodacre, now at Duke, has been thinking for a bit about the future and direction of his own project which has grown into an incredible endeavor. Several things here are of interest to me:
- The world is in the midst of perhaps one of the first truly global paradigm shifts with the rise of the Internet. It involves data, who can access it and how it is communicated. We’re all still trying to figure out what it means but one thing is clear: it’s not going to go away. Particularly in this context–students will be relying much more on the Internet.
- As far as tenure goes, one of the fundamental metrics is books and articles published. If we take the first point seriously, then university-type folks need to have more serious conversations about how research and topic databases like data portals, wikis, etc. should be added into the tenure discussion to promote the creation and proliferation of reliable, verifiable data.
- Broadening the scope a bit: congregants and congregations and those seeking knowledge about both will be—no, are—relying more on the Internet as well. What are we religious-types doing about this?
- And is the answer to this question (either in the academic or the religious realms) rooted in organization-wide top-down directives or more of an individual and small-group collective nature? It seems to me it’s the second—but that produces the inevitable problem of content control; how do you distinguish the trustworthy from the flawed and fallacious?
- Because of the kind of material out there and its means of production, one way to move the conversation forward is the growth of “certification groups” who would certify the content of a site according to their standards. Both the blessing and curse of this kind of approach is that the group would essentially have no direct power over the content and the value of the certification would be only as good as the public trust held by the certifying group.
There’s more to think and say about this—but I lack the time and brain-cycles to do it justice at the moment…