I'm sure that more and more academics are struggling with the role of the web in academic research. And I'm also sure that many are like me, that is, having a director who wants to steer clear of the web. And the reasons for steering clear are good. First of all the web is largely an ungoverned wiki - absolutely anyone can post anything and really who are they to answer too? I find it very frustrating when Christians (because of my areas of study it is Christian sites I'm frequently directed to) try to remedy this by not allowing interaction on their blogs - seems like you have cut off the one check and bound available to you. However, comments on blogs are also highly suspect forms of intellectual engagement. The web has problems.
But the web also has huge potential. It is a huge site of debate and wrestling, especially amongst practitioners of religion. That work doesn't make it into the texts. It is there that I think the 'ivory tower' complex of academics can be addressed and hopefully dismantled. But, if you are like me, then you have probably been burned more than a few times interacting with people on the web. Regardless, it is important work and it is an important site of data for academic work.
I was delighted to see Scott Bailey's recent post on his SBL experience. He gives links to papers delivered by Bibliobloggers wrestling with this new reality. I've skimmed a few and they are worth me going back for a careful read. I think it is important that we develop resources for this new frontier in academic study. Like it or not the web is not going away. And like it or not there is real world reflection going on via the web. If academics are going to remain a relevant feature of society then we need to be there too.
Come on in, the water is - muddy.