14.0313 readings & thoughts on hyperlinking

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 10/05/00

  • Next message: by way of Willard McCarty: "14.0317 Phil Agre, "Imagining the Wired University""

                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 313.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
       [1]   From:    Michael Best <mbest1@uvic.ca>                       (34)
             Subject: Re: 14.0300 recommended readings?
       [2]   From:    Rosemary Franklin <franklra@uc.edu>                  (5)
             Subject: Re: 14.0310 readings & thoughts on hyperlinking
       [3]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>         (59)
             Subject: hyperlinking
             Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2000 20:19:33 +0100
             From: Michael Best <mbest1@uvic.ca>
             Subject: Re: 14.0300 recommended readings?
    Willard asks for readings on:
      >the design of more sophisticated linking than we currently have,
      >which is to say not merely named or typified links (as already
      >implemented in the old PARC NoteCards software) but links with other
      >attributes to indicate, for example, scope and what one might call
      >intensity or tentativeness.
    This is not a reading, and I'm not sure whether it is quite what Willard is
    looking for, but the question he raises is a fascinating and important one
    that I have been working with in the development of the Internet
    Shakespeare Editions. In the section on Shakespeare's life and times, aimed
    at an introductory audience but offering extensive bibliographies for more
    advanced students, I have designed three different kinds of links: local to
    the specific page, local to the Life and Times site, and offsite to other
    sites on the Internet that are of relevance to the topic on the page. To do
    this, I have created a kind of visual rhetoric: links local to the page are
    signalled by an asterisk after the final word in the link (on the analogy
    of a footnote in print), and (with advanced browsers) produce a "pop-up"
    note; links to other pages on the site are conventionally highlighted and
    underlined; and links external to the site are signalled by a different
    colour (green) -- they also open a new window in the browser.
    You can visit the latest version of the site (not yet fully public) by
    going directly to this URL:
    (all comments will be welcome).
    The "search" links don't work yet, since the site is not public and has not
    yet been re-indexed. The older version, which used frames instead of style
    sheets for its effects is available at
    Michael Best
    Coordinating Editor, Internet Shakespeare Editions
    Department of English, University of Victoria
    Victoria B.C. V8W 3W1, Canada. (250) 598-9575
             Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2000 20:20:24 +0100
             From: Rosemary Franklin <franklra@uc.edu>
             Subject: Re: 14.0310 readings & thoughts on hyperlinking
    Mr. McCarty:
    You can lead a horse to water....... but you can't make him link.......yup!
    Best regards,
    Rosemary Franklin
    University of Cincinnati
    Langsam Library
             Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2000 20:20:47 +0100
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: hyperlinking
    In his very fine article "Imagining what you don't know: The theoretical
    goals of the Rosetti Archive", Jerry McGann comments that "Translating
    paper-based texts into electronic forms entirely alters one's view of the
    original materials"
    (<http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/~jjm2f/chum.html>). Indeed. For the
    last few days I have been reading E R Dodds' famous commentary on
    Euripides' Bacchae, all the while attempting to imagine how the work might
    be rendered in electronic form so as not merely to take advantage of the
    tools we now have (a la Perseus &c) *but also to retain the subtlety of
    referential expression everywhere visible there*. In "The rationale of
    hypertext", in a section entitled The Book as a Machine of Knowledge,
    McGann argues that because books have been deployed to study books, the
    scholar has had to invent analytic mechanisms that must be displayed and
    engaged at the primary reading level -- e.g., apparatus structures,
    descriptive bibliographies, calculi of variants, shorthand reference forms,
    and so forth." and that the imperative to use such mechanisms leads to a
    number of problems we can avoid in the electronic medium
    (<http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/public/jjm2f/rationale.html>). True
    enough. But at the same time a functional analysis of the analytic
    mechanisms in a traditional commentary -- i.e. an analysis done with the
    translation of which McGann speaks in mind -- highlights quite an
    astonishing array of referential gestures.
    For the sake of argument let us put aside the problem of compulsive
    clicking, which may lead one to bless the difficulty our readers have in
    following up a specific reference, say to a page in a journal article such
    as J. Mesk, Wien. Stud. lv (1937), 54 -- which Dodds on p 63 -- DON'T GO
    THERE NOW -- puts in square brackets to indicate that only the professional
    scholar should consult, and not the "schoolboys" who in the mid 1940s would
    also be using his work. No worry about the schoolboys and schoolgirls of
    today, but if they were doing Greek, and this were in electronic form, off
    they'd undoubtedly go! How, for example, might one deal with the following?
    -- "Sandys took the pladoi to be branches carried in the hand (? identical
    with the thyrsus), and is followed in this by Prof. Murray and Mr. Lucas"
    (n to 109-10, p 80 --DON'T GO THERE NOW, PLEASE). Is Dodds really wanting
    us to look at specific passages? This depends partially, but only
    partially, on whether Murray and Lucas do their following in some tightly
    delimited way or not. If a wired commentator is writing a similar note, how
    does the availability of hyperlinking directly to Murray and Lucas affect
    what he or she says?
    One thing a functional analysis suggests (see the U of Alberta's Cognitive
    Science Dictionary,
    now if you wish, but only if you promise to return here) is that scholars
    allude as well as refer, and that we really need to deal with the problem
    of literary allusion in the design of an adequate hyperlinking system.
    Again I refer to McGann, who asserts that "one must make present design
    decisions in a future perfect tense. What that means in practise is... that
    the HyperEditing design for a specific project be imagined in terms of the
    largest and most ambitious goals of the project (rather than in terms of
    immediate hardware or software options)". How large and ambitious our
    designs must be if we're to stand on the shoulders of our gigantic
    paper-based scholarly ancestors! We know how to do more than they did, but
    can we do as much?
    Dr Willard McCarty / Centre for Computing in the Humanities/
    King's College London / Strand / London WC2R 2LS U.K./
    +44 (0)20 7848-2784 / <ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/>
    maui gratias agere

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