18.347 references and URLs

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 07:28:04 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 347.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 06:08:18 +0000
         From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
         Subject: Re: 18.322 references and URLs


You wrote in a posting to Humanist dated October 30, 2004 that you
were induced to write a provocative missive about references about
URLs because you noticed a

> discrepancy between current doctrine and my own habitual way of finding
> things online

However in that posting to Humanist dated October 30, 2004 you go on to
describe not looking for things but looking for a thing and finding other
things along the way. What I am stressing is that beginning with the
particular search for the singular item and finding others along the way.
The model is perhaps browsing in the open stacks of a library.

There is also the practice of reading not just individual references but
groups of references. A Boolean search on a set of references in one
article or essay can lead to constellations of other essays or articles
that can be said to occupy an adjacent discursive space. E.g. Who else
references both Marx and Buber?

My point is very simple, the search for the multiple need not be an
exercise in serendipitous browsing. It can be orchestrated.

To extrapolate: the electronic medium facilitates reading in
terms of clusters, lists, and tables (a type of reading that was always
available to the clever manipulator of index cards).

References cluster. Articles tend to cite similar sources.

References are listed. The order of the references within an article tell
a story. They reflect a certain syntagm. Articles with similar clusters
may have a different ordering.

Listings of references lend themselves to tabulation. Comparative
frequency lists anyone? Discursive shifts over time?

To reposition the question: in your practice, what kinds of pictures do
you draw? how do you visualize the textual relations?

Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
A calendar is like a map. And just as maps have insets, calendars in the
21st century might have 'moments' expressed in flat local time fanning out
into "great circles" expressed in earth revolution time.
Received on Wed Nov 10 2004 - 02:35:36 EST

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