Reflection: “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure”

Link to “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure”

Gardner is asking a lot of the students, in my opinion, to move from consumers of packaged applications to owning and managing the server. I feel panic at the thought and my fear is not fear or breaking it but rather fear of the time drain. I know, for example, I spend more time deciding on a tool to use in the blog than I do in the actual creation of the blog thoughts. I could see myself getting sucked down the rabbit hole of exploration if managing a server.

Gardner stated “communication is publishing” to which I completely agree. Publishing is nothing more than bringing forward a thought, idea, concept, or conversation. There is nothing magical to publishing. A personal cyberinfrastructure would allow the creator to publish unfiltered thought. Removing the constraints and editorial review. For some, that would be world changing. Yet for others, I feel it would create a lot of noise. I think some need the templates to provide organization to conversation.

Gardner spent considerable time discussing the idea of “a distributed publishing system operated by its users”. A Utopian idea worth following. Where I struggle is around curation of this publishing system. Think about the move to self publishing one which, oddly, I support. The idea of being able to say what you intend without influence of editors and marketers is a wonderful concept. But you also give up the aid of distribution. I look at all of the self published materials and my eyes glaze over. I don’t know who to follow. If we are all singing our own songs on our own servers does the noise become so great that the ballad is lost? I think it has merit but I struggle with the concept







Gardner. ( 2009). A Personal Cyberinfrastructure. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 44,(no. 5), 58–59






One thought on “Reflection: “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure””

  1. Two quick thoughts:

    1. Managing a server is asking a lot of students. Since that presentation, much has evolved in that area and I think what you are starting to do with your own web site qualifies as “managing a server” even if there is an endless pool for further exploration of the tools and technologies available to you to add on and use.

    2. It doesn’t surprise me that you support self-publishing. I support self-publishing and publishing as a commercial enterprise. Most interesting to me are the spaces in between that technology enables and enriches…the non-profit, the semi-pro and the community based.

    Perhaps one of the answers to the “noise”—actually, I *know* this is one of the answers—comes through something this class has to be very much about: community. Consider poetry, the area I know best. If one isn’t “inside” the community (or one of the communities in some way), the noise is overwhelming. It’s just easier and more productive to go to the big publisher and select from their most marketed books rather than try to wade through the infinite numbers of self-published work, digital and otherwise. But once one gets into the conversations, the whole picture changes. For my money (literally and figuratively), the most vital poetry isn’t coming out of the big mainstream publishers but the smaller, independent and basically self-publishing presses. I’m not saying the big publishers aren’t publishing some good work, but they lag in innovation and new voices and my own consumption has flipped from being mostly those big publishers to mostly the others. But that would never have happened were it not for being part of conversations, delving into the communities and occasionally participating in them.

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