Held Thursday, September 9, 1999
- Historical track
- The evolution of reading and writing
- The library catalog as hypertext
- Hypertext and libraries
- Technical track: Library orientation
- Library orientation
- Don't go to convocation today (because there is no convocation today).
- A number of you neglected to send in questions yesterday. The next
time, this ``sin of omission'' will have an effect on your grade.
- Next week, we'll continue to rely on Bolter as we consider the question
of ``How does hypertext support nonfiction writing?''
- Please think about the question for Tuesday.
- Because you have two writing assignments due on Tuesday, I've only
added a short reading
- Don't forget the Billy Bragg concert tomorrow night.
- Any questions on current homework assignments?
- Don't forget to meet with me this afternoon.
- Any no naps before our meeting unless you have a reliable alarm
Student Questions on the Readings
- As computers become more common as a place for writing, will handwriting
become secondary? Do we foresee a day when handwriting will no longer be
taught in schools? Is this giving up the creativity that can come with
handwriting in the name of convenience?
- If all of this amazing information resources and new way of communicating
can be found on by using a computer and modem, is there a social gap being
created between the "haves" and the "have nots"? Is this problem being
addressed anywhere? Should it be?
- Will the written book, as we know it, disappear over time?
- Will anything surpass the Internet in terms of media in our lifetime?
- Is taking pen to paper "no less technological than writing at a computer
screen" (37) as Bolter claims? When considering our progression as writers
(from papyrus to the printed book), how does electronic text compare?
- Will the development of hypertext lead to more indepth reading and a
greater comprehension of material, foster speed-reading in effort for a quick
attainment of facts, or both?
- How is a new writing space (for example virtual reality) going to influence
our concepts of reading in terms of visual structure?
- What if the keyboard will be replaced by a microphone? Does the
``writing space'' change?
- Bolter spoke about the tendency to hold on to familiar forms of writing, as
they are conveineint to use (the pencil is still used, even though we now have
computers) and ineffieceint methods go by the wayside. Will traditional (oral)
story telling become archic as new multimedia procedures progress?
- Will our reliance on hypertext comunications lead to comunication
difficulties in countries that have insuficient computing rescources?
(question derived from page 37, Economies of Reading)
- I am intrigeued by the concept of writing as technology (chap 3.). Following
the process of modern writing evolution through the ages of purely oral
through written on parchments, then bound volumes, then printed, and now
electronicly displayed. What struck me was the example of what an Ancient
Greek would think of a bound volume of text, I fancy to wonder what I would
think of the Writing technology of the 24th century. Already there is talk of
books with electronic pages that could be completely re-written by a memory
chip in the spine, perhaps thought patterns will be next, will our computers
'think' at us?
- The concept of Pictorial Space (page 52) does not make much sense in that the
book is vague and unclear about exactly what this thing is. What is Pictorial
- What exactly does Bolter imply by stating that "the computer...
challenges and disrupts our current economy of writing."(54) How does
the computer have a negative impact on the present writing criterias?
- Many scholars (not cited as this is just a set of notes) claim
that with each evolution in the form of writing we've seen a
corresponding (although not simultaneous) evolution in the
sophistication of thought made possible by the medium.
- I expect that you can all now trace some form of that evolution,
particularly if we restrict ourselves to phonetic writing.
- Clay tablets and stone
- The Codex
- Manual, block-plate printing
- Manual, movable-type printing
- Steam-powered printing
- Computerized text
- Some claim that the evolution of sophisticated arguments has to
do with issues introduced in the printed book.
- Once books have uniform page numbers and section numbers,
it becomes possible to write arguments that refer to particular
- Once books have uniform page numbers, it becomes reasonable to
produce indices, thereby supporting different uses.
- The support of mass-produced books led to greater uniformity in
library cataloging systems.
- We've considered particular texts as hypertexts.
- Can ``databases'' be considered hypertexts?
- Let us consider the typical library card catalog.
- What implicit and explicit links can we find on a card in the
See also notes from R.
See notes from R.
- We'll be returning your essays at the end of class.
- You'll get comments from both of us.
- Comments in pencil are from Rebecca; comments in blue pen are
from Sam; printed comment sheets are also from Sam
- Please double-space your papers.
- We also thought you might
benefit from some general reflections on difficulties in your essays.
- Many of you make too much use of the passive voice: ``is considered'',
``is used'', ...
- Your readers may wonder ``by whom?''
- At times, it is important for you to insert an actor.
- At other times, you can use other phrases. For example, rather than
``is used'' you might use ``serves as''.
- Similarly, many of you over-use forms of ``to be''.
- Too much ``x is y'' will most likely bore your reader. Strive
for more active verbs.
- Careful rewriting can help. For example, you can easily rewrite
``this problem is one that all print media suffer from'' as
``all print media suffer from this problem'' (shorter and easier
- A number of you tend to use ``this'' as a pronoun, as in
``This shows ...''. However, it is often unclear what thing
you're referring to. You are much better of using ``this'' as an
adjective, as in ``This claim shows ...'', ``This contrast shows
- I know that there are some faculty who will almost never accept
``this'' as a pronoun.
- A few of your resorted to the ``meta writing'' that Williams and
- For example, ``In order to consider the question
of the hypertextuality of the Talmud, one must first understand what
the Talmud is.''
- It takes some work, but you should be able to lead the reader through
this without first stating it.
- I know that it's hard to come up with an exciting and innovative title
for this paper, but I was hoping for more than ``The Talmud as
Hypertext''. However, that might be acceptable as the first part
of a two part title, as in ``The Talmud as Printed Hypertext: A
Rich Web of Links''
- Similarly, I found some of your thesis statements lacking. A few of
you resorted to the vague ``The Talmud is (not) a hypertext''.
- A few of you also need to be careful about words and phrases that
don't add much to your writing (except length).
- ``It can now be stated that'': Just state it.
- ``The fact that X'': Just use X.
- ``If one was to choose to ...''
- ``It is obvious that X'': Just use X.
- Be careful what you claim.
- A number of you made some fairly strong
claims about how the Talmud is used. Since few
of you knew about the Talmud two weeks ago and you haven't
cited authorities, I wonder how you can make such claims.
- Some of you made claims about essential features of hypertext without
saying who defines those features as part of hypertext. Why is the
claim that ``no nodes in a hypertext should be more central than
other nodes'' any more valid than ``all links in a hypertext
must appear in the colro blue''?
Monday, 22 March 1999
- Created as a blank outline. (Can you tell
what I was doing during Spring break?)
Friday, 3 September 1999
Wednesday, 8 September 1999
- Filled in the student questions.
- Filled in the comments on writing.
Thursday, 9 September 1999
- Filled in some more structure (if not much content).