The printed page places distinct limitations on the forms that scholarly conversation can take. Essays mediated through print lack an interactive element. If there is interaction it takes place over months or years via letters to the editor, reviews, or rejoinders. But we no longer live in a world in which the great conversation occurs exclusively through printed media.
What does academic discourse look like in a digitally native environment? We don’t know but we’d like to find out.
Our creativity as scholars should not be limited to the construction of our ideas but should also include the forms of their expression. The web presents us with an opportunity to re-conceptualize the ways in which we package, mediate, and analyze our thoughts.
As we attempt this re-conceptualization we will experiment with new things and push existing boundaries. Not everything we try will work. But we hope that new forms of communication made possible by digital innovation will complement and enhance the content we produce. And you are part of this. Let us know when you think we’ve succeeded and when we’ve failed. Share with us your ideas and technical skill. In the spirit of scholarly collaboration we view you as our partners and colleagues.
We don’t know where this experiment will take us but we believe that a combination of creative imagination, high standards of scholarship, and collegial participation will produce something great. We hope that this vision inspires you join with us as we explore the possibilities for new forms of academic discourse.