After exploring the different tools and technologies listed on the assignment sheet, we determined that we would compile a bibliography using Zotero. We think that Zotero would be very useful for a larger, more focused project, because the program includes multiple kinds of documents (PDFs, websites), and the documents can be tagged according to the user’s interest. We don’t necessarily see Zotero as a technology that would invite certain inquiries (or prohibit certain inquiries for that matter) – the tool just seems to be more focused on making connections and patterns by amassing texts and musings/annotations on those texts.
What follows here is an assessment of the limitations and affordances of the different tools we explored during this assignment. Archive Grid would allow one to see, for example, secondary materials written about Francis Bacon (there are no primary, manuscript materials from him); however, the site does host primary materials. The INPHO project’s ontology, however, allows a user to examine the complex relationships among terms and thinkers, which would help us answer the question from Tuesday regarding the relationship between rhetoric and inquiry – INPHO seems pretty well-suited to help us see the link between those concepts and to trace them across texts. We found it much more helpful. On MONK, if a user knew of a particular researcher who had compiled bibliographic material on that site, then one could peruse that material to see the connections that have already been made (problematic because there seems to be no logical organization to the untrained user). Internet of Encyclopedia of Philosophy allows you to search rhetoricians/philosophers, topics/periods. However, instead of searching the primary texts, the user is directed to a description of the text. A search for terms is hosted through Google (linking to different spaces). We searched for rhetoric, and the search brought us to different spaces, but not to the texts. On the whole, it seems suited to aligning thinkers and terms.
We would like to be able to trace, for example, shifts in terminologies and understandings. Specifically, when did eloquence become known as style? Being able to search a genealogy of terms would be both useful and effective in tracing our terms. Dates and figures associated with this shift would help the user notice paradigm shifts and open up new ways of understanding the rhetorical tradition through those terms. Some of the tools show clear groupings of people, which represents an intellectual network specific to time and place and specific ways of thinking about the connections that should be made across the rhetorical tradition. We think this could either be prescriptive or helpful, so it is something that we should be aware of.
Molly and Logan