15.006 methodological response: hypertext

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Wed May 09 2001 - 02:36:33 EDT

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                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 6.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Wed, 09 May 2001 07:13:08 +0100
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Re: 15.002 methodological response: hypertext

    A message pointed to no particular anchor....

    I was wondering if it would be possible to approach the
    footnote/hyperlink similarity/difference exploration from a content
    modeling point of view.

    The apparatus of a link contains a pointer and an anchor. Actually this
    container model is inaccurate. A link begins with a pointer and may be
    resolved by an anchor.

    The apparatus of a footnote contains the apparatus of links and possibly
    some commentary. A footnote can both be an anchor and a pointer.

    The apparent complexity or lack of complexity of an apparatus has very
    little to do with how it might be processed either by a human reader or a
    machine. Tolerance for flaws in well-formedness affect the flow of

    I would venture to state that in the history of reading neither links nor
    notes are all that novel. What is perhaps new to some people is the
    ability to make pictures (generate maps) of webs. We have always been able
    to point to a link (which is itself a pairing of pointer and anchor). A
    metacommentary has always been able to point to a particular density of
    features in a particular portion of the space of an object of knowledge.
    Those features could be notes in a critical edition, marginalia or
    underscoring in a library copy, spread and number of references
    identified by an index.

    Even at the level of groups of notes or groups of links -- the
    Hegelian argument that sheer quantative increase leads to a qualitative
    change does not hold if one were to taken into account the variety of
    reading practices. The economy of reading may have much more to do with
    the distribution of leisure time and access to library (online,
    digital or traditional) than with the intrisic nature of the note or the
    hyperlink and with habits. Because time and access without habit are no
    guarantors that a reader will either follow a reference trail or click on
    a link.

    .... a message become anchor for no particular pointer.

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    20th : Machine Age :: 21st : Era of Reparation

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