The coadaptive, coevolving model of Kaufer and Carley suggests that transformation of practices by one stakeholder in response to technology will have effects on all the other stakeholder practices. Examples already discussed have been the move by print publishers to parallel online delivery in response to new e-journal publishing by scholars and libraries. The scholarly publishing community is also seeing gradual change in licensing costs in response to pressure from libraries.
Punctuated equilibrium suggests that changes in practices will occur over a fairly short period of time. A good example has been the shift from very few e-journals available in 1995 to the majority of the large publishers either offering (or promising to offer) electronic versions at the end of 1998.
Agre's analysis suggests that genres (like the scholarly journal) are relatively stable and expectable forms of communication. It is unlikely therefore such genres will change quickly. However he also points out that genres are usually linked closely to a particular medium: sitcoms to television, plays to the theatre and so on. It will be interesting to see if the scholarly journal genre can successfully make the transition to a new medium without being significantly changed in the process. Examples of such change are journals like JIME which offer features like ongoing peer commentary that are not possible in the print-medium version of this genre.
In common with a number of commentators [Gaver1992], [Gibson, 1979], Agre notes the dependency between the affordances of a medium and how it will be used. This implies that a new medium will provide new affordances and therefore new usage practices. Scholarly communities and their activities may not change much, but they may well be carrying them out using new media and in new ways.
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© Andrew Treloar, 2001. * http://andrew.treloar.net/ * email@example.com