I understand the romantic notion of clutching a book to breast — some clutch their laptops with the same passion but one can also embrace electronic revisions of writing in the same way. Scholars need to be vigilant in protecting their process of creation and thought and that means saving revisions and first versions so future generations can track the mind process of those who marked paths first. Imagine our scholar’s website that not only catalogues a C.V. and Bibliography, but also every nuance of every correction made in each published article or book.
Publishing on the web generates an enormous wealth of goodwill because our scholar’s verifiable thought patterns become accessible to anyone with the impetus to make the discovery and the thinking process is no longer limited to those who live within human reach of the scholar’s in-class voice. Learning how to use a computer begs the same curve of learning for those who moved from horse to car: Change or get left behind and it is the job of everyone to make sure equal access to information is a right and not a privilege.
Technology encourages revision and rewriting more than ever and the preservation of the process needs to be honored. I’m sure someone can always print out hardcopy of the early revisions of our scholar’s work for those who prefer breast-clutching.