Never mind the 70s, watch out for the 90s

Narrating the work

E O Wilson in Consilience, quoted by Jon Udell:

The creative process is an opaque mix. Perhaps only openly confessional memoirs, still rare to nonexistent, might disclose how scientists actually find their way to a publishable conclusion. In one sense scientific articles are deliberately misleading. Just as a novel is better than the novelist, a scientific report is better than the scientist, having been stripped of all the confusions and ignoble thought that led to its composition. Yet such voluminous and incomprehensible chaff, soon to be forgotten, contains most of the secrets of scientific success.

As Jon put it elsewhere,

By narrating the work, as Dave Winer once put it, we clarify the work. There can be more than narrator, but it makes sense to have one team member own the primary role just as other members own other roles.

The first Jon Udell piece referred to above focuses on Timo Hannay:

As director of web publishing for Nature Publishing Group, Timo Hannay’s projects include: Connotea, a social bookmarking service for scientists; Nature Network, a social network for scientists; and Nature Precedings, a site where researchers can share and discuss work prior to publication. The social and collaborative aspects of these systems are, of course, inspired by their more general counterparts on the web:, Facebook and LinkedIn, the blogosphere.

Jon's interview with Timo Hannay is here. I'm keeping a close eye on what Nature is up to.

Dave Winer's original usage runs: 'I think that narrating your work is the way to go'. I can see why Jon Udell likes that as much as he does.