19.485 VR scholarly editions

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 07:48:02 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 485.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 07 Dec 2005 07:32:34 +0000
         From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
         Subject: From table to graph through tale of VR scholarly editions


Forgive me my late arrival at the supper... You recently wrote in
reference to specluation about immersive scholarly editions...


In part my Star-Trekified Collingwoodian speculations are due to a
mounting frustration at online presentations, esp of manuscript books.
It's as if I were hungry but unable to go further than gaze at the food in
the deli window. Ok, I admit this is a rather special deli -- I can
actually get a shop assistant to move the food around and comment on it,
show me related items etc. But I cannot get anything to eat!


You have left me wondering about the mathematical sublime and its relation
to hunger. The insatiable appetite of the collector is in part balanced by
the exhibitionist splendor of the curator. The animal that hoards is close
cousin to the animal that displays. However you theme of food leads me to
inscribe the show and tell aspects of information glut within the context
of the convivium. What you may be hankering for is not more to feast the
eyes or quench the ears. It may well be companions to share in the bounty
that you seek. The affordances built into your shop assistants may urge to
to do less with more, that is stock an acquisitive fire [Aside: while
using Lynx I tend to linger more than when I use other types of
WWW-accessing appliances where there are "toolbars" at the top of the
screen tempting one to browse and surf.]. There are folks about who
through close reading do more with less :)

I will no doubt ask you and the subscribers to Humanist to spend a moment
and meditate upon who is invited to the feast. But before I do I want to
inflect the discussion towards the question of utensils. I have been
following the markup/database thread and doing some reading to serve up a
side dish on the side (that's reading on the side to serve up a side
dish). Out of that reading I would bring to the table a treat before a
course of fasting and contemplation, that treat being Manfred Thaller's
description of a "text engine". It simply makes one salivate at the
thought of all the possible salads that could be created by such a "text
engine" slicing and dicing texts of interest to humanists. A quick check
in the pantry and the cellar indicates that the expression "text engine"
once surfaced in/on Humanist in 1988 as an aside in a posting about mailer
software by sebastian as an allusion ("Anyway, since alls quiet on the
humanist front (rumblings of text engine guns in the distance)"), . In any
event, I was wondering if some of the Humanist subscribers who may have
attended some of the "tool summits" might report on any discussions about
"text engines" and any discussions that touch upon the question of
"tables" vs "graphs" as data models. I ask because my own foraging into
the latest "tool discourse" has been intermittent. I also ask because the
table | graph question relates in a metaphoric sense to the quality of the
soil in which the "produits du terroir" that finds their way into the
wares available via your deli market wherever it may be located to
wherever you may be accessing the deli from: grapes grown in gravely soil
and pototoes in nice sandy soil and mushrooms in the dark ...

The beggar with the bowl may know a thing or two about soil or may be
willing to learn. Sometimes it is not an invitation to the feast that one
seeks but the write up in the society pages (or record in the great
dialogues) of the drinking bout. Most beggars are content with being left
at the gates as long as some report of the doings reaches them. Even the
tale of a Barmecid feast can fill the mind's bowl.

Happy feasting. Happy tool making. Happy cooking. [Though not necessarily
in that order -- especially in a VR-augmented world.]

Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
~~~ to be surprised by machines: wistly and sometimes wistfully
Received on Wed Dec 07 2005 - 03:04:27 EST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Wed Dec 07 2005 - 03:04:28 EST