Tech Report

Managing Persistent Discourse: Organizational Goals and Digital Texts

Prior to digital communications media, texts were primarily judged using hidden but assumed institutional practices (e.g., journal peer review processes, editorial mediation). Increasingly, digital communications media can make these previously invisible discursive practices visible in a persistent medium. Doing so transforms these discourses into texts where they are subject to: (1) a reader's interpretation and judgment and (2) explicit manipulation by writers or publishers seeking to influence this interpretative process. In this article, we focus on managed persistent discourse where explicit practices and roles are adopted within an institution to actively manipulate and transform digitally-preserved discourse, with the aim of influencing readers' interpretative processes in ways that reflect organizational goals. We examine in detail two cases political manifestos in the UK and an interactive journal with on-line peer review to illustrate these new roles and practices, and the different organizational goals the managed discourse is used to support.

ID: kmi-98-03

Date: 1998

Author(s): Tamara Sumner, Simeon Yates, Simon Buckingham Shum and Jane Perrone

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