Trust in Infrastructure · Business of Knowing, summer 2021

Abstract:  We commonly think of infrastructure as purpose-built tools that enable us to carry out activities and tasks that are typically critically important. In scholarly publishing, these tools are important to us as authors, readers, and practitioners who seek to access and communicate knowledge. In this article, I claim that infrastructure is an activity. It’s not until we press a button, enter a query, or engage it in some way that it can serve the functions it’s built to carry out. In other words, we need to interact with infrastructure in order to make it go. And once we do that, we don’t question whether it will work. In fact, we rely on infrastructure to such an extent that when it fails, we feel betrayed. Infrastructure, then, is an activity that involves our use of tools and engenders our trust. This conception of infrastructure lets us see why it matters so much. Infrastructure is tied to who we are, and our engagement with it impacts who we can become.

Leave a Reply