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Literary Sleuths Online: e-Research Collaboration on the Pynchon Wiki

Information, Communication & Society, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 25-45, 2008

39 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2008 Last revised: 25 Jun 2014

Ralph Schroeder

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Matthijs L. den Besten

GSCM-Montpellier Business School; Ecole Polytechnique

Abstract

This paper analyzes a Wiki which has been developed for annotating the novel 'Against the Day' by Thomas Pynchon in terms of how it functions as a tool for online research collaboration. The annotation of this long and complex work of fiction has taken place in a very short time, with many contributors and great depth of coverage. We compare this Wiki with an earlier single-authored annotation in book form of a similar novel by the same author. This allows a comparison of technology-mediated distributed collaborative annotation and conventional annotation by single author in book form. We compare the kinds of entries made and the patterns of contributions and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both processes of annotation. We also discuss the functions of this Wiki as a tool for supporting the interpretation of the novel and a means of engagement with a notoriously reclusive author. Finally, we assess the strengths and weaknesses of this voluntary, amateur, and low-tech type of online collaboration.

Keywords: Annotation, Collaboration

JEL Classification: E29, I29, J24

Suggested Citation

Schroeder, Ralph and den Besten, Matthijs L., Literary Sleuths Online: e-Research Collaboration on the Pynchon Wiki. Information, Communication & Society, Vol. 11, No. 2, pp. 25-45, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1086671

Ralph Schroeder

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Matthijs L. den Besten (Contact Author)

GSCM-Montpellier Business School ( email )

2300, Avenue des Moulins
Montpellier, 34185
France

Ecole Polytechnique ( email )

PREG-CRG
32 boulevard Victor
Paris, 75739
France
+33145526427 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://crg.polytechnique.fr

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