Tech Talk: The Dark Side of the Digital Humanities

0 0 102
As I mentioned in my last post, I keep abreast of techie news by reading a series of tech blogs daily, including Engadget. One of their recent posts caught my eye: “3D Book Scanner Blows Throught Tomes at 250 Pages per Minute."Digital Humanities is a hot topic right now, and this seems like just the kind of tool we need to make more print sources available to more people in more places. It’s a giant leap toward a digitized library.But one of the comments also caught my eye:
I need to get this and scan every single textbook from college and pdf in the torrents. I have SERIOUSLY been think[ing] of doing it. In fact [I] have been by buying digital copies and helping our poor students.
That comment, of course, indexes any number of discussions and emerging issues, ranging from the changing nature of publishing to the cost of textbooks (well, the cost of education, period) to privacy and piracy and intellectual property.Any tool is value neutral. It’s what we do with it that matters. But how do we handle a tool that, on one hand can open up access to texts and, on the other hand, can — well — open up access to texts?So, super-fast digital scanner… good thing? What say you?
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.