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THE DIGITAL FUTURE OF AUTHORSHIP: RETHINKING ORIGINALITY by Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Kathleen Fitzpatrick seems to have written this article in an attempt to acknowledge the differences between writing and publishing written works in the real world and on the Internet or as a result of emerging technologies. The element of whether or not you’ll be published in the real world in comparison to the high likelihood or ability for one’s work to be re-published online is the main subject for the article. Fitzpatrick then expresses her belief that it is not necessarily the upcoming technological “tools” that we need to analyse and adapt to but in fact what the consequential technologies will require of us to use effectively. One interesting point she made was that “Web 2.0 may not in fact be the fear of loss of community, but the fear of loss of individuality” which to an extent I can believe because of the subsequent rise of appropriating other’s works through the Internet and related technologies, however, I think the argument for these new technologies “losing communities” could be looked at in two ways; either we are losing them because the internet encourages online communication instead of face to face and therefore the lack of relationships in reality but on the other hand communities are increasing because of the ways similarly minded people can collaborate and create through the internet.

Fitzpatrick also talks about the ideas of versioning, commenting and linking and how these linking strategies aim to create a web of networks as well as the idea of written works changing over time and whether this is a positive or negative effect of the advancements of technology. On one side of the argument, history in my eyes is static, the truth is the truth and this shouldn’t be changed, however when it comes to view points and opinions on historical events and matter, I guess these can be changed to suit the individual. This is what scares me about sites such as Wikipedia in that anyone can change information freely and one can never fully know when the information they are reading is truthful or completely fake. I like Fitpatrick’s idea on focussing on the gradual publication of works instead of the final publication when it is entirely completed.The author also explores the notions of remixing and remastering other’s works and how this behaviour has become acceptable in today’s society.

Although I think the author raises some interesting points of view and includes some useful and very relevant quotations, the type of prose adopted was dry and overly scholarly in style. What was covered in this fairly lengthy essay could have been covered in a page instead.

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