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But annotation isn’t an invention of modern scholarship. The Hebrew Bible is, famously, a text that comments on itself, weaving elaborations of its own meaning into its various iterations. Grafton touts the French philosopher Pierre Bayle, whose “Historical and Critical Dictionary,” published in the sixteen-nineties, sometimes used its explosion of footnotes as an intricate and sophisticated form of argument, as an early virtuoso of the form. Noting is old. Yet it’s precisely because of its oldness that, for books, back matter is important—especially given the advent of new reading technologies.

.. At print magazines such as The New Yorker, every word of every sentence is checked (and, where necessary, cross-checked) against original sources, for accuracy and context; if an error somehow slips through the net, it is corrected, and the change is announced. Nonfiction books almost never get such scrutiny, however, so notes are a crucial mark of intellectual good faith.

.. Consider a writer like the nineteenth-century clergyman John Hodgson, whose multipart “A History of Northumberland” included a footnote running well over a hundred pages.

Intertwingled: Morning Session # 2

Within bodies of writing, everywhere, there are linkages we tend not to see.  The individual document, at hand, is what we deal with; we do not see the total linked collection of them all at once.  But thy are there, the documents not present as well as those that are, and the grand cat’s cradle amoung them all.  -Ted Nelson, Literary Machines  (5:30)

This resonates with the Enlightenment thinkers.  The Encyclopedias they produces were intertwingled.

.. In real life, that is to say, On paper. (13:24)

Literature Debugged

Silicon Valley road to riches: Don’t worry, be crappy.  Get users locked in and spread.  The result is privatization.  Companies like Google have to reconstruct backlinks.  This leads to great fortunes and inequality.  -Jaron

Context-free openness (copy without context) leads to the decline of the middle class.  We’re concentrating wealth in people that can process the information, and not those who created it.

1970s: two types of computer types: hippies and military men.  The “draft” created a desire for anonymity.  CB Radio wanted to avoid cops because they wanted to drive faster than 55mph.  We had to preserve provenence and we have a social contract that rewards the people the data is about.

All simulation is political – the politics are in the rules and the data

We all know that being “apolitical” is supporting the status quo.


Doug Englebart: Doug’s Story

The economics professor wanted to know what kind of research he was planning to get started. What kind of research he’d do would be important for his career etc. Doug told him about computers and augmentation – there came a point when he didn’t look very interested. He looked at Doug and said: Do you know how promotions are done at university? Doug remembers the moment well: My jaw dropped, guess I don’t. It’s about peer review: If you don’t get papers published you won’t get advanced. Papers get published by peer review.Talk like this and they won’t get reviews. So much for blindly looking for an academic career!

.. So he said would you notice if everything and everyone here increased by 10 in each dimension? What would happen?

Many said they wouldn’t notice a thing as the angles would be the same; looking at someone bigger would look the same if you yourself was bigger. But what about weight? And strength?

.. Then Bill English came to work with Doug at the beginning of 1964. He had gotten his M.S. at Stanford in 1962, in engineering. A very energetic and competent engineer. Very bright, very active. He complemented Doug and provided things Doug wasn’t good at. Doug had his right hand man, his doer.

.. His work was to be developing a means to augment the human intellect. These “means” can include many things–all of which appear to be but extensions of means developed and used in the past to help man apply his native sensory, mental, and motor capabilities– and we consider the whole system of a human and his augmentation means as a proper field of research for practical possibilities.

Hypertext: Terry Harpold

The best current definition of hypertext, over quite a broad range of types is “text structure that cannot be conveniently printed”.

.. The “traditional seriality and definite order of the printed page invoked by Nielsen – much of hypertext theory has embraced the supposed tidiness of print as an axiom of system design – is deniable only in relation to the persistence of counter-serial and otherwise disorderly practices of writing and reading with paper and ink.

By hypertext, I simply mean non-sequential writing.  A magazine layout, with sequential text and inset illustrations and boxes, is thus hypertext.  So is the front page of a newspaper, and so are various programmed books now seen on the drugstore stands (where you make a choice at the end of the page and are directed to other specific pages).

.. Many people consider these forms of writing to be new and drastic and threatening.  However,, I would like to take the position that hypertext is fundamentally traditional and in the mainstream of literature.  Nelson (1990)

.. hyper-text as text’s liberated possibility