Session Idea: Digital Decisions on a Notes Archive

I’ve been thinking for some time about a born-digital version of my ongoing notes on scholarly sources and materials, my own curation of personal ‘digital marginalia’–not project-specific notes, but general notes from an overall generalist practice of “liberal arts” scholarship. I blogged about the concept behind the project earlier this year. The core objectives of the project are, in order of their importance:

a) to document what the ‘lived practice’ of scholarly knowledge consists of, to show what kinds of readings and contemplation goes into interpreting and annotating material on an ongoing basis
b) to provide such notes in a way that is open to long-term sharing, collaboration and repurposing between scholars and wider publics
c) to work towards one possible model of how born-digital notes and marginalia might be incorporated into referencing or cataloging practices

I’m at the stage where I’m testing an implementation of the project, as follows:

a) a flat-file version of the notes deposited in a public folder at Dropbox
b) a publication of the notes to a WordPress or CommentPress blog dedicated to that purpose
c) a publication of the notes to a public Zotero group
d) a publication of the notes to my library on LibraryThing (as ‘reviews’)

I’d love a chance to work through whether these are sound decisions in a collaborative discussion. This is a lot of by-hand effort, for one. I’d like to map some decision trees in concert with a group, as far out as we can take them, and explore some of the ‘roads less taken’ in relation to my own ambitions, the costs and burdens of a project of this kind, and the range of technical and theoretical insight available in a group. I’m particularly interested in thinking about this kind of project against the backdrop of the intellectual history of notation and information management offered by Ann Blair in her book Too Much to Know.

2 thoughts on “Session Idea: Digital Decisions on a Notes Archive

  1. I love this idea. I would absolutely attend this session. It strikes me as a fantastic way to make scholarship/thinking through ideas visible and dialogic. Not just about disseminating ideas, but seeing ideas and the field always in progress.

  2. I agree that this looks like a great idea for a session. I’m so unsystematic about my note-taking that I’m still trying to figure out how to manage them for my own use, but I would love to talk about Tim’s project and the potential impacts of presenting scholarship in this way.

Leave a Reply