Wednesday, May 24, 2006

panGloss

As you may have noticed , BlogScript has now officially changed its name to PanGloss. I'm not changing the URL currently, but to give due warning, I may well migrate this blog elsewhere in the next few months.

Why the change? Well, Blogscript was never exactly a catchy name. It was supposed to be the "blog for SCRIPT"; and SCRIPT was the acronym I dreamt up, six or seven years back, for the loose conglomeration of IT and IP law scholars at Edinburgh Law School , who later became the AHRC Centre for Intellectual Property and Technology Law in 2002. SCRIPT stood for Scottish Centre for Research into IP and Technology (Law) - rather easier to remember than the current research-council imposed name, you must admit:-) The original idea was this blog would feature contributions from the postgraduate students at the AHRC Centre, with a bit of help from myself and Andres Guadamuz, my co-teacher. In the end though, as ever, you can take a student to water, but you can't make him/her drink :-) and so, predictably, I ended up writing the content exclusively myself, and to my surprise, like most bloggers, becoming mildly addicted to the process.

And now I'm leaving Edinburgh, it seems a good time to formalise this as MY blog, not a blog for a particular course or university; and thus to dump the clunky "SCRIPT blog" name in favour of something with a bit more juice to it.

So why panGloss? Well, blame Paul Maharg. A month or so back, at the very enjoyable BILETA 2006 conference in Malta, Paul gave a storming talk entitled " ‘Borne back ceaselessly into the past’: Glossa, hypertext and the future of legal education". Paul's argument was loosely that some very interesting similarities can be observed between legal education in the centuries before the invention of the printing press, and curent electronic publishing and social software practice. Paul pointed out that in the pre Caxton world, when original texts were rare and expensive - texts like the Bible, or in law, the Roman Institutes and Digests - the practice arose of annotating them in hand writing round the edges, often in different colours and styles. These commentaries - "glosses" - were then sometimes published themselves, arranged as marginalia around the original text, as studiable texts in their own right. These glosses then over years themselves became the subject of scholarly lectures, debate and analysis, with a dense web of mutual cross referencing arising. Such glosses contributed enormously to the development of law in most of Western Europe. The analogies to blogs and hyperlinking are both obvious and irresistably enticing, and the Scottish contingent at BILETA, raised in the mixed legal system tradition on stories of the medieval Glossators and Post-Glossators, were almost too excited to stay in their seats.

So the idea of a law blog as a modern "gloss" stuck in my mind. I once edited a hard copy fanzine called Gloss (gosh! how twentieth century!) so the new electronic Gloss had to be called something slightly more exciting. eGloss was too generic. iGloss was fun and a la mode, but sounded too much like an Apple product, or maybe a paint commercial. GLawss was clever but far too cutesy. panGloss , with its echoes of Voltaire and the best of all things in the best of all possible worlds seemed to strike a suitably optimistic and technophilic note. So panGloss it is. Be seeing you!

1 comment:

Brian said...

Very clever - I thought it was merely a reference to Candide.