I remember, back in the mid-90s, showing a grad school friend how to use Netscape. When she clicked on a link and the screen changed, she nearly jumped out of her seat in shock.
Nice to know not that much has changed in academia higher education in the humanities. (Change as per that extremely academic virus-lover Ian.)
Via Crooked Timber, I found this choice quote from a Michael Bérubé essay in Inside Higher Education. Bérubé was on the MLA committee that just recommended major changes in the tenure process, and his essay addresses some of the forces that led them to suggest large changes.
About the digital age, most doctoral departments are largely clueless: 40.8 percent report no experience evaluating journal articles in electronic format, and almost two-thirds (65.7 percent) report no experience evaluating monographs in electronic format. This despite the fact that the journal Postmodern Culture, which exists only in electronic form, has just celebrated its 15th birthday. Online journals have been around for some time now, and online scholarship is of the same quality as print media, but referees’ and tenure committees’ expectations for the medium have lagged far behind the developments in the digital scholarly world. As Sean Latham, one of the members of the Task Force, said at the 2005 MLA convention in Washington, “If we read something through Project Muse, are we supposed to feel better because somewhere there is a print copy?” For too many scholars, the answer is yes...
Criticism, at its best, ought to be an engagement with the critic's own culture as well as with the work being discussed. For digital scholarship to be ignored by tenure committees, and therefore actively discouraged to the junior faculty hoping to impress them, is to cut off a major developing form of engaging with modern culture from the ongoing discussion among literature departments. It's those departments, not the intarweb, that will lose out on this one.
(In other fun news, Bérubé notes that when you do the math, 34 of every 100 Ph.D.s in the MLA's member fields gets tenure. Do you feel lucky, punk?)