Some have argued that, in the five years of its existence, the World Wide Web has begun to cause a paradigm shift in the ways that authors, publishers, vendors and archivists view the production, distribution, and management of new academic knowledge. While we are not convinced that Thomas Kuhn's notion of a paradigm shift has yet occurred, we argue that experiments like the electronic xxx pre-print archives in physics and math, the Argos Medieval website in literature, and the MUSE online journal project (Hopkins UP) have dramatic implications for the print industry and academic archivists. Drawing on Foucault's notion of heterotopic spaces (lived spaces within culture like libraries, formal gardens, or cemeteries), we theorize a "lived [digital] space," in which academics will do research and interact with colleagues--perhaps on a daily basis. Foucault's metaphor of heterotopia (to describe archival space) is particularly useful because of the way that its mirror effect confronts us with social and institutional assumptions: real sites, such as universities with tenure policies and journal production, can be contested and even subverted. 

This paper describes five digital academic/professional archives (MUSE, JSTOR, Ciao, Argos, and xxx e-print archive) and explores how they are changing modes of production, systems of access, and management of new and stored knowledge. However, these archives still resemble traditional sites like libraries, databases, and professional organizations. Expanding Foucault's original notion of site into "professional working spaces," we discuss four transition models for print and academic institutions shifting from print to digital archiving (For-Profit Journal Model, Ex-Post Editorial Board Model, Web Editors Model, and Electronic Agent Model). We speculate on more powerful on-the-fly searches across archives, which would enhance academics' ability to work, live, and play in a "living space," thus making it more heterotopic. Finally, we envision a heterotopia of the future, using the Computers and Writing community. This online community is a model for change because of the technical expertise of its members, their motivation to challenge current paradigms, and the strong social online networks that they have formed. In offering this final scenario, we hope to influence others to enter this discussion and help implement these professional working spaces of the future.


Abstract | Navigating | Overview | TOC | Introduction | Archive | Websites | Refracted | Visions | New Models | Works Cited

CoverWeb Overview | CoverWeb TOC