|Challenge from Corporate Culture|
The dark side from the point of view of the scholar is that corporations are also developing those tools. They are moving into the "knowledge industry" seeking profits rather than prophets. Scholars find themselves having to pay to use those tools. Within the logic of corporate culture, this is entirely appropriate since the corporation has paid to create the tool and it must recover expenses and make a profit. This book, on the other hand, maintains the scholarly ideal of all information for all people in all places at all times. (Scholars invite pirates to steal and spread their ideas.) It however contains balanced discussions of qualifications to this ideal - for example, the scholar's need for privacy laws when the information is about her and for copyright laws when the information is by her. A major theme is the delicate balance between collaborating with government and industry, which is necessary in such huge expensive projects, and falling into a government-industry-academy complex.
The qualification "to all people (who can afford it)" is a key issue in the book. Scholars in hot pursuit of their quarry may find that the quarry escapes, since there are borders which can't be crossed, because they can't afford the toll. The "quarry" for the scholar, whether artist or scientist, is truth (with a small "t"). The hypothesis is a tentative rather than an absolute truth, phrased modestly so that it is open to disproof. Science involves the suspension of belief rather than of disbelief. Artists and scientists are both seekers of truth - emotional and rational truth respectively. Both are on the side of truth, however inconvenient, whereas the corporation is constantly tempted by convenient lies. Those 35 scholars and those many organizations behind their acronyms seek to settle our squabble over our various versions of truth so that we can close ranks against the lies. They provide us in this book with a state of the art/science message about an exciting development in the humanities.
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