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Humanist Archives: Feb. 23, 2020, 4:48 a.m. Humanist 33.625 - in praise of the hyperlink

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 625.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2020-02-23 01:43:28+00:00
        From: Henry Schaffer 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.624: an editor's plea


  Having dabbled in the area of computer communications from well before
the WWW/URL, I'll take a different approach and come to a different
conclusion. While I agree with you regarding the value of footnotes in
assisting understanding of the text. I beg you to reconsider the
"hyperlink" as being a modern and improved instantiation of the footnote
(and also the endnote.) The technological implementation is, of course,
different, using "bluing and underscoring" instead of the revered
superscript, but that makes it IMHO easier to notice and use. Of course,
it's possible to merge the two approaches, using superscripts as
hyperlinks, and our (well, my) beloved Wikipedia does that.

  I'll end by giving my opinion that the hyperlink is worth using, and that
the choice between the blued/underlined and superscript format is a trivial
matter of taste.

--henry schaffer

On Sat, Feb 22, 2020 at 3:20 AM Humanist  wrote:

>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 624.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                    Hosted by King's Digital Lab
>                        www.dhhumanist.org
>                 Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>         Date: 2020-02-21 05:39:14+00:00
>         From: Willard McCarty 
>         Subject: an editor's plea
> Dear colleagues,
> My editorial preferences doubtless began to be formed when I was editor
> of my high school newspaper and learned principles for the composition
> of a printed newspaper page from an experienced hand. How to attract the
> eye and then lead it from one story to another was the main lesson, I
> recall. This happened in the late 1950s. So it is also doubtless that
> these are old principles, which I persist in carrying over into the
> digital medium of Humanist. In other words, I am prepared to be told
> that the following is Old Hat.
> BUT: it does seem clear as day or a bell that someone who writes a note
> and actually wants to communicate by means of it will not be surprised
> by the meta-principle that all impediments to an untroubled reading
> should be avoided wherever possible. (Medieval manuscript annotation is
> another story; here is about readers in the tradition loudly proclaimed
> by Thomas Sprat in the 17th Century.) One massive impediment to
> untroubled prose is the URL helpful in the intention, I have no doubt,
> that the writer inserts into the text so that the reader may be better
> informed. But informed about what, exactly, and why of interest, is
> impeded if not obscured by the URL's violation of the syntax of the
> sentence it interrupts. This is why the footnote was invented, I
> suppose: to be helpful but not derail reading.
> Yes, some notes to Humanist originate in software that embeds each URL
> in a hidden link -- you know, bluing and underscoring the text it
> 'footnotes' -- a nightmare of design, it seems to me. But in any case,
> Humanist's software is graphically quiet by design, so that technique
> does not work.
> Thus, in conclusion, my editor's ink-stained plea to send continuous
> rather than URL'd prose to Humanist, to consider how many URLs are
> actually needed and where they would best be placed with the reader in
> mind.
> Many thanks, indeed, many!
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
> Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
> London; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
> (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org)

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