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DigiCULT 13
men publishers than with the return of publication
control and power to the academic sector. `That is in
the end why this is really going to take off,' he said.
Bruce Royan added another factor, what he called
`the attention economy'. He explained: `The acade-
mic wants to get his stuff read and indeed the
funding agency that paid for the research to be done
wants it to be read too.' Internet publication avoided
the traditional, expensive ways of `getting your ideas
and your research more widely known.'
Pay attention:
The new Web economy
The `attention economy' theory is attributed to US
economist Michael H. Goldhaber, a visiting scholar
at the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the
University of California at Berkeley. He has enlarged
his original 1997 thoughts The Attention Economy
and the Net,
issue2_4/goldhaber/ and Attention Shoppers! in
html to a series of polemics applying his theories
to modern politics, see
His thesis is that in the `New Economy' the
new currency will be Attention rather than money.
In Attention Shoppers!, he wrote: `Attention can
ground an economy because it is a fundamental
human desire and is intrinsically, unavoidably scarce.'
His ideas have been expanded in a book The
Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency
of Business, by Thomas H. Davenport and John
C. Beck (Harvard Business Review, 2001),
The authors wrote: `The Attention Economy,
where the scarcest resource for today's business
leaders is no longer just land, capital, or human
labor, and it certainly isn't information. Attention
is what's in short supply.'
talian archaeologist Dr Sofia Pescarin, a compu-
ter scientist at Rome's Istituto per le Tecnologie
Applicate Ai Beni Culturali (Institute for Technologies
Applied to Cultural Heritage),
wanted greater
security in virtual communities. Cultural heritage
institutions, especially those in Italy it seems, needed
to know that communication channels were secure
before they shared information, she said, and wond-
ered if, perhaps, peer2peer technology would serve
the purpose.
Dr Karp thought not. But public key encryption
would, he said. It was a technology that had `been
around from the very start, that everybody truly
needs and that is never used'. It was, he said, `an-
other grand mystery of the Internet'.
Moderator Nyíri thought Web security was
`trivially easy because if it is not linked to an index
page and if the URL is complicated enough ...'
Dr Karp interrupted: `No, no! That is one of the
Internet engineering taskforce's mantras. Security
by obscurity is not a good idea.'
The Forum was concerned. Members wondered
why nobody ever changed Internet passwords, why
telecommunication surveillance was accepted, how
the average user avoided getting `lost in the ocean
of information', as Mr Nyíri put it.
The Edinburgh 13 now engaged with Dr Karp's
next challenge: `What about all the cultural heritage
material that exists originally in digital material and
resides only on the Internet? We have not confronted
the issue of people conducting cultural heritage
exclusively in the digital environment.'
The Moderator was pleased with that approach. `It
is important to realise that increasingly scholarly and
scientific researches are only publishable on the Web
because they contain material which cannot be
committed to hard copy - videos and so on. I think
this is an extremely important point to realise.'This
began another troubled debate on matters like the
Institute for
Technologies Applied
to Cultural Heritage
(ITABC), Rome,
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