The other day I was out and about and got into a conversation with someone who asked me about my doctoral work in English literature. I’ve had the same conversation many times: I tell someone (only if they ask!) that my dissertation was a history of the villanelle, and then they cheerfully admit that they don’t know what a villanelle is, and then I ask them if they’re familiar with Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do not go gentle into that good night.” So far, everyone has heard of it – it’s a very well-known poem indeed. I then explain that “Do not go gentle into that good night” is a villanelle, and that a villanelle is a poetic form something like a sonnet. So far, everyone also knows what a sonnet is, which is why I use that as a comparison, even though a villanelle isn’t all that much like a sonnet, in my opinion. They’re both poetic forms, however, with a particular standard number of lines and a particular standard rhyme scheme, so in that sense they certainly are alike.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.crossref.org/blog/how-i-think-about-ror-as-infrastructure/