Kairos: Past, Present and Future(s)

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October 1995: Troy, New York
(Doherty's Thread)

The structure and content of the first issue of Kairos was built in a sports bar two blocks from the RPI campus in October of 1995 — and if Seattle's Ken Griffey Jr. hadn't slid home with the winning run in a decisive Game 5 against the Yankees, it might have turned out entirely differently.

In another happy accident, Mike Salvo and I are both New York Yankees fans. So, when the 1995 American League Division Series between the Yankees and the Seattle Mariners started, Mike drove across state to spend a few days with me in Troy, where we would watch baseball, try to figure out this HTML thing, and draft the first Kairos statement of purpose. In fact, what you see on the first page of the journal's site today is pretty much what we wrote on cocktail napkins back then.

We made a series of decisions; proving once again that there's nothing like face-to-face communications, we solved several problems that our weekly MOO meetings had seemed to just exacerbate.

We would overcome the "name recognition" problem we had created for ourselves by inviting prominent contributors to our first issue — Fred Kemp at Texas Tech, Michael Joyce at Vassar, and most significantly (as she was a name outside the smallish C&W community), Andrea Lunsford at Ohio State. All accepted.

We would actively solicit contributions from some of the brightest graduate students in our field, which led to publication of works by Tony Rue, then at Florida, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, and Tim Krause, both then at Purdue. In another moment of retrospection, the invitation process negated the peer review process — at least for that first issue.

We would divide the journal into sections — OK, at this point, you can go look at the archives yourself to see what we decided, which was adopted with only minor modifications at our next staff MOO session.

Before Mike left to return to Binghamton, we did one more thing — we drafted and sent out an e-mail actually announcing Kairos and the date of its first publication: January 8, 1996. This is known as "stepping off the ledge" — or as Crump has been fond of saying, "ready, fire, aim."

We had no design, we had no content, we had no method — but we'd promised the world (or at least our little academic corner of it) "a hypertext journal exploring all aspects of the pedagogical and scholarly uses of hypertext, written in hypertextual format(s)." We even promised our part of that world that we would only publish "true hypertext" — a concept for which Joyce's students had no trouble expressing disdain.

But two months later, Kairos went live.

Next — June 1997: Honolulu, Hawaii

Kairos Will Have Been ...
(Salvo's Story)

Kairos logo circa 2002 ... and beyond?