Authorship, Agency, and Technology in Wikipedia and Chambers' Cyclopaedia
Through this comparative study, based on extensive archival research and data-driven analysis, Kennedy illuminates the deeply situated nature of authorship, which is dependent on cultural approval and stable funding sources as much as it is on original genius and the ownership of intellectual property. Kennedy's work significantly revises long-held notions of authorial agency and autonomy, establishing the continuity of new writing projects such as wikis with longstanding authorial practices that she calls textual curation.
This study examines a wide range of texts that recompose accepted knowledge into reliable, complex reference works combining contributions of article text alongside less commonly considered elements such as metadata vocabularies, cross-indexing, and the development of print and digital interfaces. Comparison of analog and networked texts also lays bare the impact of technological developments, both in the composing process and in the topics that can practically be included in such a text. By examining the human and technological curators that support these encyclopedias as well as the discourses that surround them, Kennedy develops textual curation as a longstanding theory and process that offers a nuanced construction of authorship.
"Textual Curation offers digital rhetoric and composition studies an exciting new study of distributed authorship. Kennedy's theory of textual curation illuminates the relationships between human and technological rhetorical agents, past and present. In a culture of bot writers and algorithmic authors, her book is a must read for anyone interested in authorship and machine agency."—Jessica Reyman, Northern Illinois University
Other Titles from Studies in Rhetoric/Communication