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: firstname.lastname@example.org (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 message become anchor for no particular pointer.
-- Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance 20th : Machine Age :: 21st : Era of Reparation
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