This tool intends to enhance the way academics contribute to digital scholarly discussions and visualize an authority system for authors, contributors and publications. Price describes the digital scholarly works created from projects, coining the term “arsenal” (Price, 2004). He highlights the “workshop” definition as it addresses projects that are complete and those that are in-process. In this way, the collection of online activities becomes the academic’s arsenal. Artifacts are produced, using the broadest sense of the term as stated by Pitti who writes, “Artifacts may be primary objects of interest or serve as evidence of human activities, events and intentions.” (Pitti, 2004).

Authority of content and users will be an important part of the product. Jensen outlines several metrics that can be used to measure authority. The list is long, which itself is a sign of how sophisticated our new authority systems will have to be (Jensen, 2007, p. 304):

  • Prestige of the publisher (if any)
  • Prestige of peer pre-reviewers (if any)
  • Prestige of commenters and other participants
  • Percentage of a document quoted by others
  • Raw links to the document
  • Valued links, in which the value of the linker and all his or her other links is also considered
  • Obvious attention: discussions in blogspace, comments in posts,reclarifications, and continued discussion
  • Nature of the language in comments: positive, negative,interconnective, expanded, clarified, reinterpreted
  • Quality of the context: What else is on the site that holds the document, and what is its authority status?
  • Percentage of phrases that are valued by a disciplinary community
  • Quality of author’s institutional affiliation(s)
  • Significance of an author’s other work
  • Amount of author’s participation in other valued projects, as commenter, or editor, or anything
  • Reference network: the significance rating of all the texts the author has touched, viewed, read
  • Length of time a document has existed
  • Inclusion of a document in lists of ‘best of,’ in syllabi, in indexes, and in other human-selected distillations
  • Types of tags assigned to a document, the terms used, the authority of the taggers, the authority of the tagging system

As Jensen mentions, the emphasis in such models is often not in finding scarce value, but in weeding abundance (Jensen, 2007, p. 303). Additionally, the bias should be towards authority given by humans rather than authority that is calculated by the system.

Interested in making this? I’m Anshuman. Let’s Talk.

Jensen, M. (December 05, 2007). Authority 3.0: Friend or Foe to Scholars?. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 39, 1, 297-307.

Pitti, Daniel V. (2004). Designing Sustainable Projects and Publications. Edited by Susan Schreibman, Raymond George Siemens, and John Unsworth. In A Companion to Digital Humanities. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.

Price, Kenneth M. (2009). Edition, Project, Database, Archive, Thematic Research Collection: What’s in a Name?. DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln.