my talk for the digital text seminar today

For my presentation today I’m going to hand out the draft of the paper I just had accepted to Hypertext ’05, about feral hypertext (yay!), but instead of discussing it directly I’m going to demonstrate the technology, which is I think less familiar to most of the world than to us bloggers.

My basic premise in the paper is that hypertext was developed as an intimate tool — Bush calls the memex “enlarged intimate supplement to his memory”, and although hypertext systems were developed on mainframes at first, researchers constantly discussed it in terms of individual usage. So hypertext was developed for personal, domestic use. Research on hypertext before the web stresses individual users and controlled authoring. Other methods of control included typed links (that is marking a link to a supporting argument as “supporting” and one to a definition as “definition”) and today the semantic web. The thing is, with the web hypertext has returned to the wild. It’s gone feral and we no longer have that kind of control over it. That is turning out to be pretty damn cool.

So today I’ll demonstrate how blogs work (Blogger.com, and how I post to my blog) and then how RSS works and how you can ping a category or use Technorati. I’ll show Wikipedia and the history function, and how easy it is to edit a page. And then Flickr (open API), to explain tags and folksonomies and how patterns emerge rather than being preauthored. Del.icio.us and CiteULike are logical next steps, followed by Technorati tags bringing it all together.

Standard procedure, really, hopefully jammed into 20 minutes, and hopefully illustrated in a way that experts on XML and metadata who are used to editing and authoring (rather than supporting the emergence of) digital critical editions can find things that will be useful to them. And hopefully I’ll be able to put some of the ideas in my paper out there.

27. May 2005 by Jill
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