What is the future of the encyclopedia in the internet age, and what role might historians of science play in that future? Historians of science have long engaged with public-facing initiatives, but as the discipline has professionalized our conversations have increasingly taken place behind paywalls and within academic presses. On the occasion of the launching of the online, open-access Encyclopedia of the History of Science, this roundtable discussion will focus on the history of attempts to use digital and electronic resources to develop and deepen academic fields. Focusing on both the pitfalls and possibilities of such resources, the discussants—Christopher Phillips, Pamela Smith, Alex Wellerstein, and Emily Bloom—will engage with the question of how to shape such an initiative to be lasting and valuable. What might be gained and lost by creating a resource that provides a more holistic, up-to-date, and easily accessible portrayal of the history of science than is currently available?
Christopher Phillips, Carnegie Mellon University
Pamela Smith, Columbia University
Alex Wellerstein, Stevens Institute of Technology
Marwa Elshakry, Columbia University
Whitney Laemmli, Columbia University