Presentation: The Re-emergence of Orality

A tad bit different than the usual stuff I post here. For the last couple years or so, I’ve been intrigued by the the concept of context preservation. It’s all started whenever I see a big spike on a certain page of our website, or when page request came from certain domain/area. What’s going on that day? What makes this particular page suddenly so popular on that day? Did one of the librarians do a bibliographic instruction? Has somebody list a link to our web page from somewhere?

The news about Library of Congress that will archive the public tweets is also intriguing, especially when the researchers or anthropologists start pouring over the content and try making any sense of the myriad things people shared on twitter. How to make sense of a conversation when it’s done between somebody with public tweets and the other has his twitter account protected (and thus his tweets are not archived by the Library of Congress)? Do any of the hashtags make any sense at all? When a hastag is trending, does it get captured and preserved too?

Interestingly enough, my colleague at work, Ruth Ann Jones, also intrigued by the change in the scholarly communication, from writing formally to writing in oral style. She also has questions on how this will affect collection development for the libraries. We usually collect resources that are printed/published through a formal channel (publishers, databases, associations) and now any scholar can communicate through various channels. Discussions happen spontaneously and free flowing.

Given that trend, how do we preserve the context of information or conversations? We don’t know, at least not yet. So, we asked and tried to poke some brains.

(by the way, looks like Internet Explorer might have a problem displaying this presentation. Let me know if that’s the case.)

Presentation Header
(click the image to go to the actual presentation on Google Docs)

5 thoughts on “Presentation: The Re-emergence of Orality”

  1. Great topic! I never think it before. Is the context isn’t it not the text.

    After being reserved, how to process it… well this is another challenge. One more, could Mbak Ranti explain about the changes of how the scholar communicate from writing formally to oral style?

  2. Zaki, sorry it took me a while to get back to this one. :-)

    The changes happened due to various method of communication available to the scholar. Before, the media available to them were mostly through the scholarly journals, conferences, and handbook & periodicals. Now, they are no longer restricted to those media. We have blogs, unconferences, youtube, etc. and the style is now more conversational. The purpose is shifting from transmission of content (one way, from the writer to the reader in a formal way) to connection building and more spontaneous interactions. The conversations are now going in all directions.

    1. what Mbak Ranti mean by unconferences? Is this some kind of informal talks? I see, there are changes.

      1. Oh! Sorry about the jargon. :-) Unconference is indeed some kind of informal talk, usually among people with the same profession. The topics that people want to discuss are usually decided on the spot rather than having some kind of program committee. Wikipedia ( has a nice explanation about it and the unconference blog ( would give you more info about it.

  3. Mbak Ranti, could you tell me more about how scholars in the USA interact? I see in Indonesia, there’s only small/rare scholars interaction.

Comments are closed.