I’m very pleased to welcome you all to The Book of Trogool, a brand-new blog about e-research. My name is Dorothea Salo, I’m an academic librarian, and I am fascinated with the changes that computers have wrought in the academic-research enterprise. I hope to explore those changes, and particularly library responses to them, in the company of the wonderful ScienceBlogs community. My thanks to John, Christina, and Walt for paving the way, and to Erin for welcoming me here.
I hope to tell stories about e-research projects (because narrative is how humans come to grips with novelty), pass on tidbits of e-research?related news, demystify jargon, ask and answer questions?in toto, I hope to bridge the science, library, and IT communities as we all work to understand, accommodate, and make the most of computers in research.
One small note: Though this is ScienceBlogs, I by no means plan to limit my remarks to the sciences. This is a tremendously exciting time for the so-called “digital humanities” as well, and as I am a humanist by training, I pay close attention to developments in those disciplines.
Right. About that blog name?
I am an earnest devotee of Lord Dunsany’s wry, half-parodic Peg?na stories (do take a look at the Project Gutenberg version) and their quarrelsome, none-too-bright, easily-offended pantheon of deities. On a rereading some time ago, I noticed a rather curious and delightful passage in “Of the Thing that is Neither God nor Beast:”
Trogool is the Thing that is neither god nor beast, who neither howls nor breathes, only It turns over the leaves of a great book, black and white, black and white for ever until THE END.
And all that is to be is written in the book is also all that was.
When It turneth a black page it is night, and when It turneth a white page it is day?
Trogool is the Thing that men in many countries have called by many names, It is the Thing that sits behind the gods, whose book is the Scheme of Things.
Are researchers and those of us who serve them not all trying, in our own ways, to write the book of the Scheme of Things? And has that book not become binary?black and white, one and zero?in the last several years? And is not the computer “neither god nor beast?”
I believe so, as I believe that Trogool is a fitting symbol for the e-research enterprise, which just like Trogool has many names.
Behold a picture of Trogool by the utterly marvelous Sidney Sime (don’t worry; Dunsany and Sime’s Peg?na-related works are in the public domain):
Rather an intimidating chap, isn’t he? I hope I can help him seem less so.