** lists & links targeted for She-philosopher.com content **
First Published: April 2004
Revised (substantive): 28 December 2016
THE REFERENCES SECTION OF She-philosopher.com houses the List of Works Cited, along with themed (and sometimes annotated) bibliographies, plus an original compilation of early-modern women involved with science & technology.
• Works Cited: Selected Primary Sources (pre-20th century)
• Works Cited: Selected Secondary Sources (20th and 21st century)
Selective list of early-modern women who contributed in various ways to the growth of science & technology. The women listed range in social rank from queens to illiterate midwives, with participatory activities that run the gamut from accounting, alchemy, astrology, and astronomy to bookbinding, botany, calligraphy, cartography, chemistry and iatrochemistry, engineering, engraving, entomology, horticulture, illustration, instrument manufacture, marketing, mathematics, medicine, natural philosophy, patron of the arts & sciences, pharmacy, niche publication of scientific works, print selling & print publication, surgery, technical writing, and zoology.
• Bibliography for phronesis and prudentia
• Bibliography for the study of 19th-century lithography, especially as used to illustrate scholarly books & journals
• Bibliography for the study of ornament in England’s 17th-century book trade
• Bibliography for the study of 17th-century heraldry
• Bibliography for studying 17th-century English writing-masters and their copy-books
• Bibliography relating to 17th-century English “waggoners” and the drawing of coastal views
I ought to point out that the two lists of Works Cited included in this section of the website will not be evolving into a comprehensive or authoritative bibliography, as is the custom in scholarly publication. Rather, they will provide the bibliographic data, in a convenient location, for those few titles with which I have chosen to engage.
This is my most recent work-around to the problem of information overload that every 21st-century scholar faces.
Stephen Hawking has written about the recent exponential growth of information, usefully juxtaposing artificial and biological new-information rates:
Because biological evolution is basically a random walk in the space of all genetic possibilities, it has been very slow. The complexity, or number of bits of information, that is coded in DNA is roughly the number of bases in the molecule. For the first two billion years or so, the rate of increase in complexity must have been of the order of one bit of information every hundred years. The rate of increase of DNA complexity gradually rose to about one bit a year over the last few million years. But then, about six or eight thousand years ago, a major new development occurred. We developed written language. This meant that information could be passed from one generation to the next without having to wait for the very slow process of random mutations and natural selection to code it into the DNA sequence. The amount of complexity increased enormously. A single paperback romance could hold as much information as the difference in DNA between apes and humans, and a thirty-volume encyclopedia could describe the entire sequence of human DNA.
Even more important, the information in books can be updated rapidly. The current rate at which human DNA is being updated by biological evolution is about one bit a year. But there are two hundred thousand new books published each year, a new-information rate of over a million bits a second. Of course, most of this information is garbage, but even if only one bit in a million is useful, that is still a hundred thousand times faster than biological evolution.
(Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell, 161–5)
As Hawking points out, just to stay on top of current developments in a given specialty would require volume reading of a sort beyond the capacity of the average human being:
If you stacked all the new books being published next to each other, you would have to move at 90 miles an hour just to keep up with the end of the line. Of course, by 2600 new artistic and scientific work will come in electronic forms, rather than as physical books and papers. Nevertheless, if the exponential growth continued, there would be ten papers a second in my kind of theoretical physics, and no time to read them.
(Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell, 159)
Clearly, the way in which we do scholarship is going to have to change.
Of necessity, I have already begun to change what and how I read, and this has included cutting back substantially on secondary materials.
Stephen Toulmin first raised the problem of too much “unanimity” among “historians ... borrowing from each other’s narratives instead of returning to the original texts,” and over the years, I have become concerned about this myself. (Toulmin, Cosmopolis, 13)
As such, I will be “returning to the original texts” as much as possible, and along with this, privileging live critical engagements with opinionated others in the She-philosopher.com community, over more closeted volume reading of secondary criticism.