17.428 link anxiety

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Dec 04 2003 - 04:07:14 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 428.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 09:01:47 +0000
             From: lachance@origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: indexing links, delinking anxieties


    Some more observations on links, citations, references and the
    invitiations to guide readerly attention.

    If I am authoring in TEI I can "link" and I can "point" and I can "refer".
    The mark-up language helps me as author distinguish between these
    activities. A <ptr> element is -naked-. It registers the target. A <ref>
    element allows some text to be associated with a pointer. A <link> element
    offers the opportunity of encoding associations among elements or

    If I am authoring in HTML I have the anchor element whose attributes can
    be used to encode a hypertext reference (href) or a fragment identifier
    (name). I signal the dual nature of the HTML anchor element: used to mark
    a spot with a fragment identifier; used to point to a resource or some
    spot within a given resource.

    When you are authoring a text, depending upon the software and its
    settings, a URL might automatically be registered as an HTML anchor
    element with an href attribute whose value will be the URL. Certain email
    software will read a URL in a similar manner, treating it as a clickable
    hot spot.

    Some authors depend upon browser navigation features for returning reader
    attention back to a text body after a detour to a footnote. Others provide
    a hot spot to facilitate the move from the note to the text body.

    Given that certain files will be viewed in conditions where the operating
    system tightly couples email processing, WWW browsing and wordprocessing,
    the question mutates. To guide reader attention is not only a matter of
    offering readers explicit clickable hotspots. As such hotspots may be
    generated by software accessing and rendering a file, the author is faced
    with a decision of where/when to provide URLs.

    This is a bit of a meander to get at the implied either/or --- that
    flight/fight stress response that I read in your statement of "link
    anxiety". Would not the solution for the anxious author be to use anchors
    and links and pointers. That is, to segment the text that one is writing
    in areas and in one of those areas list references to the relevant URLs.
    The references would point to both the resource identified by the URL and
    to the area(s) of the text where the referenced URL would be applicable.
    For example, a reference to a specific number of a specific volume of
    Humanist could be recorded in such a listing and its applicability to one,
    two, or more spots in the text body could also be recorded. Such a mode
    of composition would be most marvellous for extended prose where such a
    cross between index and list of sources would serve as a map of the piece.
    Give the reader a chance to renavigate the piece. They just might accept
    the invitation.

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance

    Wondering if...

    mnemonic is to analytic as mimetic is to synthetic

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