Monday, March 28, 2005

Prospectus

1. State of the literature; where we need to go

A review of the extant literature from an LIS background. Extend Frohmann's arguments in an effort to further articulate both the theoretical background and application. Introduce how the notion of the handbook is slippery given existing IC approaches (i.e., handbook is "at-hand", it doesn't contain text, etc.)

2. Theoretical orientation and methodology

Discuss various aspects of the theoretical approach of the study. A number of issues have to be addressed: 1- document as part of practice (i.e., Frohmann), 2- document as a technology (i.e., Darnton), 3- the importance of understanding the chain of operations inherent in technology, 4- the evolution of technology to reflect changes in practice, 5- the stabilization of technological artifacts (i.e., SCOT), and 5- analyzing the technology to gain insights into the changes in practice (i.e., discourse analysis of visual materials). Provide a roll up of the methodological approach.

3. Introducing the cast of characters/ Limitations of existing research

Discuss the extant literature related to both Architectural Graphic Standards and the theatrum machinarum. Present both what we know and what we don't know. In particular, focus on the limitations of method (or absense of method!) of research that has already been conducted. Focus on the need for a new approach.

4. Theatrum machinarum: findings

Following the discourse analysis of the theatrum machinarum, indicate the findings. Demonstrate if these findings are consistent with extant research on the theatrum machinarum.

5. Theatrum machinarum: exploration

Discuss the findings in the context of a view of documentation as practice.

6. AGS: findings

Following the discourse analysis of AGS, indicate the findings. Demonstrate if these findings are consistent with extant research on the theatrum machinarum.

7. AGS: exploration

Discuss the findings in the context of a view of documentation as practice.

8. Drawing the eras together

Address the commonalities and distinct differences in the work. Are these features consistent with existing theories of documentation and practice? What insights can be gained from the approach?

9. Answering the question: What is a technical handbook

Conclude the discussion by answering the questions: "what is a technical handbook?", and "how did it come to be?"

CODA. Reflection on method

Before leaving the work, reassess the adopted method. Did it work? Why or why not? How can the method be adapted? What other applications are there for the method?

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