“Wikidemia” is a term I hadn’t heard before I read this very interesting roundtable discussion from the UPenn Department of Romance Languages. At the heart of the discussion is the notion that scholarship without the Internet and its collaborative tools would be radically deprived today. It’s a thoughtful roundtable on many levels, with three different perspectives fleshing it out.
For example, here is a quote from Michael Solomon, an Associate Professor of Romance Languages:
We would like to assume that scholarly writing is primarily about the exchange of information. It’s not; it is about the scholar and his or her status in the academic community. The material culture of scholarship has been radically threatened by the Internet because it threatens the status of the author. Scholarly work on the Internet gets cut, pasted, modified, and destroyed much faster than material scholarship. It pushes us toward evolutionary collective scholarship rather than fossilized individual achievement. We like to think of our scholarly work as the product of our own ingenuity and knowledge. Paper journals confirm this by providing us with palpable and tangible objects that we can “cherish” as our own. The Internet, however, is not a touchy-feely medium. What we think is ours quickly belongs to everybody.
I urge you to read it for yourself. I think you’ll find it thought-provoking.
(As an aside, “wikidemia” has also been defined as “academic research about Wikipedia.” That’s an entirely different matter . . .)