Fluidity begets possibility. Print journals, after some five hundred years of Gutenberg instantiation, bequeath to their editors models of scholarly writing judged by relatively stable standards. Length, for example,though it varies from journal to journal, is usually, within a given journal a fixed standard. Also fixed are choices in font, cover design, layout, and citation styles. The writing usually contains linear arguments, dependent on a sequential linkage of given and new information, a march from context, to premise, to analysis and argument, to conclusion.
There's value in that--we've all benefitted from it and still write this way; we think this way. But as Wen Stephenson notes in his critique of Sven Birkerts's The Gutenberg Elegies, we are part of "a growing number of people with a foot in both the worlds of traditional literary publishing and the emerging online media." Indeed teachers and librarians, as Mary Been's annotated list of guides to evaluating WWW resources shows, are fast developing and sharing principles for judging the value of WWW-based information, scholarship, and knowledge.
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