Let’s talk about information – digitized information. When the World Wide Web emerged, it offered a plethora of information, “unpoliced and unregulated,” open to all, regardless of race or class. It was a possible channel for “those who had been silenced to have a voice.” You couldn’t prevent someone from accessing information on the web, and that was the great promise of the Internet; however, you could exclude diverse, cultural information from the web, and a trend has definitely shown. Earhart says that digital humanists are skewed toward traditional texts, thus excluding crucial work by women, people of color, and the GLBTQ community. Therefore, she poses the question (the title of the article) “Can Information [truly] be Unfettered?” (Unfettered meaning free from restraint) Interestingly, the National Endowment of Humanities awarded 141 D.H. grants in three years, with only 29 focused on diverse communities. Clearly, there has been an underwhelming spotlight on the preservation or recovery of diverse community texts. So, the solution is obvious, but it must be blatantly said – we must adopt a mind toward cultural constructions in technology, unless we will continue to exclude vital materials from digitization.
Earhart’s persuasive argument can be related to archives such as one created by the Invisible Australians project. This online archive was created to reveal the “real face of White Australia.” Australia defined itself as a white man’s country, but reality is different, and the archive proves just that – easily identifiable, one could click on any picture and see just one of the documents denying them their place in Australia. Without researchers, and even ourselves, being exposed to diversity, digging deeper into cultures, we would digitize an incomplete, false world.
This post mainly encompasses Earhart’s article and the archive, because frankly, after reading McGann’s number, I still don’t know what he is referring to in Radiant Textuality. However, I do understand that he acknowledges the capacity of accessibility and flexibility information has once it is computerized; but, he asks us to give “serious, collective thought” as to how we live and handle our lives and knowledge within these networks.