I have to say I agree with Sapphire’s comments on technology, keeping in mind all the various gives and takes. Interestingly enough, my tech class lecture the day I read her post was about historical sharing of information. I’m sharing this information with you because it’s one of the first lectures that actually captured my attention. My thoughts were, “Hey! History! I understand this! We’re not talking about where the Internet lives! Or clouds!” And yes, my internal monologue involved that many exclamation points. Usually during my 3 hours I try to not only stay awake, but also make sense of those crazy acronyms. Seriously, my brain does not do so well with math, and as far as I’m concerned the Internet is math. Did you know that the internet only reads numbers? That’s a lot of math.
Anyways, I’m assuming that since you are readers of a historical and historical fiction blog, you are also not math people, forgive if I’m wrong. And so without further ado, I give you the information dissemination timeline:
Pre-1400: Handwritten books that were costly, rare and took a long time to create.
1400: Gutenberg made publisher and bookmaking faster, easier and more cost-effective.
1665: The beginnings of journals and the Royal Society and their journal the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.
1700: Peer Review within the medical field was established because the Health Sciences field need more up-to-date information.
1800: Industrial Revolution began because of technology and innovations which gave Academics more credence, as they came up with discoveries that improved people’s lives. Therefore, more money was given to academic institutions.
1900: Yale established the precedence that related tenure with publications. This relationship meant that well-respected universities such as Yale and Harvard only hired well-respected instructors who were approved by other professionals in that field.
1980: Desktop publishing and computer technology became more prominent, therefore threatening the academic journal’s life. With the invention of technologies such as Microsoft Office authors could write and distribute articles while bypassing the gatekeepers.
Today: Articles are written and published via two different formats
- Peer Reviewed journals
Basically, my point is, we have a gazillion times more information than anyone before us ever did. Did those poor students in the 80s who I pity because I’m too lazy to research for real ever think about how the technology they were inventing would affect students today?
Here’s a fun, or scary video (depending on your mindset).