Reading Hypertext Gardens


Read and develop some notes on Hypertext Gardens

Start a new page - ReadingHypertextGardens - followed by your three initials. Make your notes in that page.

Work with Hypertext Gardens, by Mark Bernstein.

Mark Bernstein is a publisher of hypertexts, President of Eastgate Systems, and a commentator and theorist on hypertext. Hypertext Gardens is a different way of thinking about linking Price presents. Like Price, Bernstein makes some recommendations, But because it's a hypertext, the work itself enacts practice as much as it advises those practices.

This work gives yet another position and way of thinking about links - more along the lines of Burbules than others. He's also looking at designing an enclosed hypertext: that is, he's looking at ways to let readers navigate through a defined document space - not unlike, say, the pages on the BSU website. Or anywhere else.

He's addressing concerns of attention and reading that Price and Lynch and others have addressed -
The attention of the audience is a writer's most precious possession, and the value of audience attention is seldom more clear than in writing for the Web. The time, care, and expense devoted to creating and promoting a hypertext are lost if readers arrive, glance around, and click elsewhere.

But rather than thinking about speeding through the site, he asks -
How can the craft of hypertext invite readers to stay, to explore, and to reflect?

Doing Notes

Working with this hypertext means reading for both content and hypertext design. And that means reading the work three or four times through. Attentively. It also means that you'll need to read not as a member of audience but as an editor / literary critic, with your eye on how they work is structured, how it works.

So, you'll need to compose some extensive notes on this article, which isn't as tedious as you might expect. Start by creating a map of your reading by record your reading path from page to page, by way of what link. This can be your first reading path but it works better to try to create an ideal one, once you have a sense of how the text works.

Use a shorthand using

Heres an example. You can adapt this or come up with another.

Starting from the navigation at he bottom of the page, I choose (link) Gardens and Parks > (page) Gardens and Paths >
interesting things await us > rigid design >
anything more > gardens.
I returned to the bottom menu again and selected ...

That would be read

Starting from the navigation at he bottom of the page, I choose the link Gardens and Parks, that led to a page titled Gardens and paths. I selected the in-text link on that page interesting things await us, and that led to a page titled rigid design. I selected an in-text link on that page titled anything more, which led to a page titled Gardens. There were no in-text links on that page, so I selected another link from the bottom navigation bar ...

I'm distinguishing in-text links from the links in the navigation bar at the bottom of the pages. I'm using line breaks to distinguish link text from page names so I can better follow my own map.

A Second Pass

Once you have a map, return to re-read Hypertext Gardens and add to your notes, this time to consider how the pages are related and how the link titles are working rhetorically. While the map creates a kind of outline, your notes on content will create a reading. Again, an example. I'm adding content notes to the notes I took above.

Selected nav link of Gardens and Parks > Gardens and Paths >
Parks leads to paths - which is moving from a whole (park) to a part (path). The path is in the park. But the image shows a forest path, and the text mentions that an unplanned text is a wilderness and uninviting. The relation between parks and paths is not addressed, but there is a change from parks to paths - and park to forest - with both the title of the page and the image.

Selected the link Interesting things await us, which seemed to promise a way out or up the path. But the link went to Rigid design, with an image of a tall, glass building and mention of streetscape, in opposition to getting something more. No desire to linger in the streetscape. Catachresis?

Selected link anything more, which led to a page Gardens, with an image of bench ...

You could do this all in one pass, but you might find that you can pay more attention to the text once you have a map, and more attention to the map as you re-read the text.

You can add commentary to your reading path notes as you see fit. But the main idea in your notes is to focus on what's going on in the text - including the images.

Deadline: Post your notes on Hypertext Gardens by class time so we can talk about what you found.

My Notes on Doing Notes on Hypertext Gardens

The first pass to construct the map took me about an hour with the essay open in a browser while I took notes in a text editor next to the browser window.

I took a break.

The second pass took me a couple of hours, set up the same way. I resisted doing a copy and paste from the essay into my notes. I read and summarized the text instead and considered the image instead I didn't concern myself with evaluating whether it works. I focused on explaining to myself how the pages were connected and interlinked.



Follow up: Chasing Our Tails, Bernstein
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