Bruno Latour @ AIME Launch of the English version of the website

What is sure to be catalytic for a new generation in a way that Science in Action was 25 years ago for second generation STSers, Bruno Latour and the AIME staff launched the English version of online infrastructure for An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (AIME). This mid August launch was coincidental with the English translation of the hard copy of AIME by Catherine Porter. Latour and the AIME staff reported:

It has been two years now since the launch of AIME. During that time, we have achieved some of the project’s major goals: we have published the book – the inquiry’s provisional report – in two languages (French and English); built an international network of scholars and practitioners who are working on the various modes of existence; organized a number of meetings to fine tune the research’s methods and content; mobilized certain artists to collect and document the modes and their manifestations; and, we have released a web platform, the digital companion to the book, which enables you to explore and further the inquiry.

Today we are releasing a newer version of the digital platform, featuring the project’s English content. This includes the text of the book itself and associated vocabulary and documents. We have improved the search engine: now you will be able to search any content on the digital platform, including bibliographical references. We developed a bookmark system that allows you to save interesting paragraphs and media that you may come across on the site.

Unfortunately, the development of these features took longer than expected thus you will not yet be able to annotate items on the platform, or discuss and propose new documents in the inquiry. This, however, should not be too surprising – for two main reasons: On the one hand, the whole of the platform’s development has been a continuous learning-by-doing process – indeed, we had to rethink more than once the site’s architecture – and there were moments when we felt as though we were reproducing Terry Gilliam’s film, “Lost in la Mancha”. We hope to share with you some day the entire anecdotal history of the project… On the other hand, striving to contribute to the fledgling field of the digital humanities, we engaged in long and passionate discussions about how best to re-imagine the role of footnotes in a digital environment. We also considered long and hard how we might best enable the user to contribute – in a more meaningful way than by simply leaving comments – to the existing research documentation and so on …

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