RhetNet logoFebruary 1995

Adrift on the Validity Index

Beth Baldwin

        "If a person asks about things which we are able to do,
        and yet does not ask while we are in the act of doing them,
        we can, by doing what she asks after her question, show her
        what she asks by means of the thing itself rather than by
        a sign."

This quote, attributed to St. Augustine (sorry), speaks to the radical possibilities of electronic journals in general, Rhetnet especially. There seems to be a tension between those who regard "publishing" in this medium as something entirely new to which we must apply a new validity index, and those who regard it as a physically different presentation of works held to traditional validity indices. Apparently, the medium is able to accomodate either.

I would, however, hope that we use the possibilites opened up by electronic communication technology to move away from the old validity index which alone. What we have the opportunity to create with the cyberjournal is, in a way, a "special effect," a text less focused on meaning than on significance. Whatever the content of an essay submitted to the journal, it is the collective "act" of all-as-editors that lends to the final product (final defined as the point at which we cease to act) its significance. The cyberjournal is the "thing itself."

I've edited for standard print, scholarly journals before and would hate to see Rhetnet go this route. It will take a fair degree of daring, I realize, for some to let go of old notions of validity, but I think it would be well worth our effort to try.

Date:         Wed, 1 Feb 1995 08:50:42 -0400
Sender: CyberJournal for Rhetoric and Writing 
From: Beth Baldwin 
Organization: University of NC at Greensboro
Subject:      Re: all: editing?

Do you have something to say?

morphing editors richard's reply victor's note