About Circuitous Root®

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1. About Circuitous Root®

1.1. The Name

The name "Circuitous Root" was conceived by Rollande Krandall in mid 1992 as the name for a traditional music band. We have a lovely poster made for us in 1993 by the talented artist J. R. Benson. Here is a snapshot of it as it hangs on my office wall:

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Please note that this image is Copyright © 1993 by J. R. Benson. It is not public domain. Please do not use it without permission.

The name "Circuitous Root" is a registered trademark of David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.

1.2. Antiquarian Technology

To "take the circuitous route" is, of course, to take what might seem to be an unnecessarily complex road to one's destination. (In the end, perhaps, all real routes are circuitous.) The "root" of something is, metaphorically, its deep meaning and supportive structure. The "Circuitous Root," therefore, is the tangled path to understanding.

It seems to describe pretty well my own inquiries into "antiquarian technology" and related fields. In 2005, with Rollande's permission, I adopted Circuitous Root as the collective name for these studies. They encompass both more or less traditional scholarship (books and writing) as well as less traditional methods of inquiry (practical metalwork in the foundry, forge, and machine shop; the creation of antiquarian technological art, etc.) These pragmatic/applied/artistic methods of inquiry are to me just as important as more conventionally scholarly methods.

At that time I started the http://www.CircuitousRoot.com/ website as a project to publish this research.

As an amateur blacksmith, I also use Circuitous Root as the name of my Forge (that is, my blacksmith's shop considered as a whole). As an amateur typefounder and hot metal letterpress enthusiast, I use it as the name for my Typefoundry and Press. When I get to the point of accomplishing any machining or "model engineering" worth mentioning, I'll use Circuitous Root Machine Works for those activities. These are all aspects of my inquiry into matters of antiquarian technology. Bashing hot iron is "scholarship" if you're investigating the bashing of hot iron.

1.3. On Scholarship

I have referred to the Circuitous Root work as "scholarship," and in a sense that is meaningful to me, it is. However, I must be at pains to distinguish what I'm doing here from real scholarship.

This is not acceptable academic scholarship. Really, it isn't. Please do not, under any circumstances, mistake it for proper academic scholarship or, worse, cite it as if it were.

This has nothing to do with whether I'm right (or wrong) on any given point. It has to do with the nature of what proper academic scholarship is. Real academic scholarship is peer reviewed. That is, it is checked before publication not only by good editors, but also by others qualified in the field. Real academic scholarship is also published in durable journals and is fixed at the time of publication. It may therefore be re-evaluated in the light of new scholarship. These things are important.

Circuitous Root is neither peer reviewed nor unchanging. It contains whatever I want to put in it, and I can change it at any time.

While Circuitous Root is not proper academic scholarship, it is, however, scholarship in another sense. It is a serious personal study into several areas, employing the bibliographic tools of the traditional text-based scholar, the practical tools of the blacksmith and machinist, and the exploratory tools of the artist. These are Notebooks; they are also "essays" as Montaigne understood the term (if Montaigne had, perhaps, spent a little more time bashing hot iron at the forge).

It would be a good idea if in all reading, here and in daily life, the burden of critical evaluation were taken up, actively, by the reader. Don't believe anything you read just because it says so. This is particularly true in writing such as mine, here, because it is not proper peer-reviewed scholarship. If upon critically reading it, you like it, great. If not, that's fine too. Please, though, do not cite it as if it were true or right, because the reader who has only your citation does not have the advantage you had in critically reading this material.

1.4. Licensing and Copying

Most of the material presented by Circuitous Root is either public domain or writing by myself intended for scholarly purposes (broadly conceived). I try to make it as widely and fairly available as possible.

Each page contains a section near the bottom which articulates clearly the legal terms of ownership/copyright for the page (and sometimes individually for items on the page) and the legal terms of licensing for the page. Please read these and abide by them.

Here are a few general notes - but they are merely that. For each page, again, refer to the specific terms on the page.

In general, all material that is to the best of my knowledge in the public domain in the United States remains in the public domain as I present it. If a page or document of mine which is itself copyright contains embedded or linked public domain material, that material remains in the public domain (I try to be clear about this in each page or document). I never assert any new copyright of my own on public domain material. I feel quite strongly about this. A rich public domain is an important foundation of civilization.

Most of the pages are licensed under the Creative Commons "Attribution - ShareAlike" license. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ for its terms.

Some pages are dual-licensed under both the Creative Commons "Attribute - ShareAlike" license and the Free Software Foundation's GNU Free Documentation License. I can do this since, in these cases, I am the original author (and the only one, therefore, not bound by these licenses). If later someone takes these pages and modifies them in a way which conflicts with one but not the other of these licenses, then that person might have a problem on their hands.

The computer programs presented here are all licensed under the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License, Version 2 or (at your option) any later version.

Circuitous Root is a registered trademark. If you copy a page under its licensing terms, the original contains sufficient information to allow the copy to use "Circuitous Root" properly, within the limits of trademark law. Please respect the law when you modify such copies. In particular, do not use "Circuitous Root" in a way which might suggest that it is a trademark owned by someone other than its owners or in a way that might suggest that Circuitous Root endorses any modifications you may have made.

(This present page is an example of an exception to these general guidelines. As specified below, it is not licensed under any "free" terms. It may be read, but not copied, just as any published document in copyright might be. The reason for this is that it contains artwork (J.R. Benson's "Circuitous Root" poster) which is not freely reproducible. There aren't many exceptions like this, though.)

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