17.420 link anxiety

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Tue Dec 02 2003 - 01:18:35 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 420.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

       [1] From: Aimée Morrison (36)
             Subject: RE: 17.412 cures for link anxiety?

       [2] From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk> (15)
             Subject: more on link anxiety

       [3] From: lachance@origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois (28)
             Subject: Re: 17.412 cures for link anxiety?

             Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2003 05:41:42 +0000
             From: Aimée Morrison <aimee.morrison@ualberta.ca>
             Subject: RE: 17.412 cures for link anxiety?

    hello all,

    your question about link anxiety, willard, brings to mind an article by rob
    shields on "hypertext links: the ethic of the index and its space-time
    effects" (full citation below). shields notes that while hypertext has much
    written about it as a genre, many studies (paradoxically) seem to concentrate
    on the static elements of hyper-texts, while he proposes a more careful
    examinitation of the act and the fact of the link itself.

    for shields, the web is not a set of objects, but rather the links between
    them--a relational and dialogical process composed in the process of the jump,
    the link, between consituent elements (150). a link, accordingly, is a
    liminal sign, "both a part of the text and an index caught on the threshold of
    departure, signalling to another page of text. It is paradoxical because it
    appears to be an interior gateway" (151).

    ultimately, shields proposes a temporal reading of the link an 'aesthetic of
    delay' that recognizes that "time is made palpable in the form of delay and
    lived inthe experience of suspece--this temporarily is as much an effect as is
    the illusion of spatiality on the Net" (158).

    obviously, a bias toward spatial reading of the net supports the tendency to
    consider the artifacts of the web rather than the links between them--to key
    to temporality is to refocus on connection and on the path that is followed.

    i hope i've summarized this right -- i'm working from notes rather than the
    text itself here. anyhow, thought it might be useful ...

    the full citation for this quite interesting article is:
    Shields, Rob. "Hypertext Links: The Ethic of the Index and Its Space-Time
    Effects." The World Wide Web and Contemporary Cultural Theory. eds. Andrew
    Herman and Thomas Swiss. New York: Routledge, 2000. 145-60.


    . ++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Aimée Morrison Office: 4-14 Humanities Ctr.
    PhD Candidate, Dept. of English Phone: (780) 492-0298
    University of Alberta Fax: (780) 492-8102
    T6G 2E5 Email: ahm@ualberta.ca

    "If we examine the Lives of all the Poets, we shall find that they have all
    been miserable."
                                           -- Susanna Watts, c1802

             Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2003 05:59:50 +0000
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: more on link anxiety

    Adrian Miles, in "Hypertext Structure as the Event of Connection",
    Proceedings of the ACM conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia 2001
    (www.acm.org/dl/ etc), in fact discusses anxiety of linking from the very
    helpful perspective of hypertextual writing practice on the small scale. He
    points usefully to Susana Pujares Tosca's "The Lyrical Quality of Links"
    (Hypertext 99). I admit to being wary of essentialist tendencies in both
    arguments. What happens to this lyrical quality, for example, when you're
    writing a scholarly argument with hypertext and very much need to control
    where attention goes and to make sure that it comes back? And don't tell me,
    please, simply to write well and it will come back -- writing well is in part
    making sure that attention is with you, hugging every turn.


    Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the
    Humanities | King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS || +44 (0)20
    7848-2784 fax: -2980 || willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk

             Date: Tue, 02 Dec 2003 06:01:14 +0000
             From: lachance@origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Re: 17.412 cures for link anxiety?


    Why link? How to link? Reference, allusion, citation?

    The questions become interesting when one consider on-screen reading where
    the viewer/reader can toggle between windows and therefore conduct
    searches on the material presented in any given document.

    Why link in such reading conditions becomes associated with a rhetorical
    impression of precision. McCarthy says... invites future readers to find
    the locus of the saying. In Humanist Vol XX No. YY, McCarthy asks...
    invites readers to consider the previous context of enunciation. In both
    cases, the reader as verifier comes to the fore.

    I think that the argument - evidence distinction in your posting turns on
    the question of the rhetorical relation between evidence and argument. Are
    you suggesting that ways of presenting evidence affect how readers will
    react to a given argumentation?

    Could we not posit a division of labour in the community of readers? Some
    will sift the evidence whether or not links are explicit. Others will
    engage with the structure of the argument. And still others will ply their
    way betwist and between.

    So back to the question of linking. Why link? To provide a record. Why
    provide a record? To facilitate rewriting or revisiting? This is tending
    towards the question of why write...

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large

    Wondering if...

    mnemonic is to analytic as mimetic is to synthetic

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