Reading Hypertext Notes

Hypertext Gardens

making use of clickable links
- send us through text
- avoid drowning readers in large passages of text
- reads like a choose-your-path story
- uses the hypertext to provide info to hook those interested

- inclusion of how the site was made, right at the bottom of the intro page: Building the Gardens
- whether the map is useful or not, depends
- shows interconnectivity of the text

sticking with it
- requires some breaks to get through it all
- curious metaphor of a garden, works like one, winding paths
- can find new places, lots of hypertext
- a bit distracting when the hypertext takes you offsite, Chasing Our Tails
- creates an element of anxiety, trying to find everything, afraid of missing things
- sense of disorientation, infinitude
- unsure of true size of text that reader is getting into, can't see how much is coming compared to looking through a physical book, can't really look ahead

Chasing Our Tails
- stark white screen
- business feel to the site
- very different feel compared to the Gardens
- did it need to be linked so close to the start?

- better feel in Gardens than elsewhere
- end page allows you to find what you missed
- hypertext is a space that you can move through freely, unlike paging through a book
- images of nature vs. urbanization, adds to the feel

- garden
- winding paths, don't know what's ahead exactly
- books are made of pages, leaves
- surfing versus browsing
- park = wandering through, can leave at any time
- searching in an open space, no defined borders

Gardens as a tool
- can stop at any time
- consumer attitude

various reading strategies
- can be free as you please, click through links quickly and then go back to read through it all
- orienting to the material
- paratext = what the text is going to be or do; blurb, images, intro and end, text on front and back covers
- value in meaning making, not just making a meaning

- scenic versus construction
- creates illusion of "cutting across"
- getting around walls
- hidden text in places
- creator prompts and guides

placement compared to other text
- kind of confronting Krug
- Krug says to confine text, follow conventions, linearity, permanent navigation, judgment by its cover
- can walk away from Gardens at any point, finding what you don't expect rather than what you were looking for
- navigation is not straight forward but not confusing to the point of making it unusable
- site title takes you to rules and then to conclusion, where reader can find table of contents
- Krug views navigation as mindless and simple, not much to think about

Reading on the Screen

- lots of compact boxes, compartmentalization
- site looks very business-like, blue and white
- one section of a much bigger piece

- comparison of scroll versus book versus text
- rather historical in nature

three modes of reading
- Heyer, 1986
- grazing mode = continuous reading
- browser mode = reading on the screen
- hunting mode = search engine, interactivity

- font advancement, operating systems

from Computer Lib / Dream Machines

- skim this, do not read fully, use Search for hypertext mentions

- tinkertoys were the first Legos, not complex, easy to put together
- thinkertoys are more complex, prompting you to think, arrive at different result
- not a puzzle to solve, something to create as you go
- simple in and of itself, lead to more complex through by using it
- bootstrapping
- helps thinking more complex, reorientation
- "books are machine to think with", Richard, like a thinkertoy
- dynamic, can change based on where you are, changes display based on what you've done and what you're doing

- would see it as not helpful
- too much thinking involved
- task-oriented, difference between Krug and Nelson objectives
- thinkertoy must be well-designed to get the job done

thinkertoy versus tinkertoy
- tinkertoy = Legos
- a bunch of pieces in a box, originally
- presently, get pieces to create the designated set on the box
- rigid and costly notion
- not just a financial cost, choking hazard
- parts themselves guide in putting them together but don't constrict, can do other things with the pieces

- not a puzzle to solve...but users may want to try solving anyways
- design of Xanadu
- imbedded pages within the page, page 330, Ted Nelson's original print, murder to read
- hand-drawn diagrams, pasted and self-published, part of the romanticism of Ted Nelson
- 1974, coming under the wire of publishers, out of print now, valuable

- Ted Nelson created the word himself, non-word
- pushing back against the establish computer community, computers were for specialists
- Xanadu, computers are for everyone, kiosks for public use
- everyone is going to own and use a computer
- screen apocalypse
- responsiveness, mouse, light pens, screens
- "understanding must be at a fantic level", info in question must be at a conceptual level before it can be used and understood by others
- informatics

- no public internet back then, schools and military only
- time-sharing access to those computers, teletyping
- considered "online"
- no CRTs
- computer and internet are not one in the same, modern viewpoint, little local processing
- internet versus computer argument, would it change now?

- easier to define what it is and what it does, not what it means
- need to understand nature, use, and social effects
- meaningful, malleable, powerful
- reflect deep social and cultural structures, collective unconscious
- understand the hyperlink as more than a way of automatically requesting documents from a Web server, acquire the ability to influence themselves and attain self-awareness

as a citation
- hyperlink = a reference that automatically brings the user to a certain point in a work
- deceptively simple

Blog Architecture

intro blurb
- large, unstructured document
- web is limited
- structure and web rendering have immediate attention
- challenging ideas on presentation and an advanced idea on structure

blog aspirations
- first function is to serve as a simple blog
- main function is to describe ambitious research and demonstrate elements of it
- three research areas (Film, User Interface, Narrative History) will be of interest to different communities, separated in blog outline
- will include some collaborative projects
- plans no blog area to report progress
- navigating by structure, experimentation, lists created by notes, options, Tool Area

about links
- uses Tinderbox as a platform, uses spatial hypertext and supports typed links
- spatial hypertext = links are physically created by dragging and dropping, even across windows and views
- one view of hypertext views links as multiple pathways through a collection of specially designed narrative fragments, like Gardens, user-defined "and then" link
- documents will include navigation links (ordinary web links), parenthetical links (stretchtext), and ontological links (link to formal definitions)
- documents may also include situational links (can "zoom out" to understand context) and reactive links (propagate change)

preliminary setup: feeds
- requires making as many macroarchitectural decisions as possible early on
- writer uses Tiderbox and a 17" MacBook Pro to create two documents, a business one and the one the user is now reading
- writer also has a Prismo and an iPhone
- iPhone is connected through Simplenote, Dropbox, and Email
- Pismo is connected through Dropbox using BBedit, Dropbox using a "scratchpad" Tinderbox file, and Email
- Pismo is rugged, 12 year old Powerbook, kept in the car, used when opportunistic
- experimenting with another Pismo currently too

Tinderbox strengths
- 4 types of documents: blog with blog sections, lightly-structured documents, heavily-structured documents, and a modeling tool
- starting with a blog is challenging, want it up quickly but to still introduce their unique tools and radial capabilities over time
- two things make Tinderbox extraordinary, how it handles spatial hypertext and typed links
- considered a platform for hypertext researchers
- typed links have lots of capability compared to standard blog tags, implanted with transformative functions associated
- assign tags by dragging, each tag is a "note" linked to other tags by ontological relationships
- link structure is a directed graph, linguistic tools can be applied

site structure
- conscious of how notes fit into the outline
- top level is the whole site
- next level has four areas, the blog and three structured documents, each has subsections, think of these as main chapters or parts
- each section has notes, has internal outline structure as well, subnotes are collapsed bold titles, images are a sort of subnote
- heavy use of parentheticals, diagonal depth, considered horizontal structure, will also contain bibliographical references

- writer created their own markup language, called it Sidemark due to many horizontal indicators
- wrapping asterisks for italics, emphasis, bullet lists
- vertical lines used to decide what text stays and what text gets relocated, one line versus two lines
- macros required for two of the most advanced effects, inserting an image and inserting a parenthetical note, marked with three lines between words
- ordinary links and enriching links, latter is experimental, discriminate between three types of navigation links, all marked the same way

about Tinderbox functions
- key concept in experimental framework is the notion of function
- cost of bending developmental platforms to functional framework is high, need to examine the concept of function
- primary object of interest is the situation
- situation = structured collection of information, only some is explicitly known
- based on the theory that we interact with the world in terms of stories and interpret facts in the context of situations
- logical systems of formal reasoning and in computerized systems handle this theory poorly
- category theory, situations are modeled by them, abstract mathematical object with modeling structure and relations
- categories are basic object in conceptual framework
- Tinderbox operations asked for are preformed at pretty low level and don't make much sense in functional style, common to have high level operations be functional and low level "internals" be more procedural and hardware-specific
- typed links represent Tinderbox operations, make Link-triggered operations behave as functions
- writer cares about "anything that is in the reactive chain starting with a link assignment or a state change in an attribute anywhere in the reactive graph, plus anything that is connected to causal dynamics"

one development environment
- intend to supplement Tinderbox with writer's own application, would be reusable as a full up tool
- writer will be working in Python, likely Python 3, enough functional power for use and has a "mainstream" language
- favor Leo as editor, allows structured function/term rewriting, can have three orthogonal outlines
- will be using portable environments, two Prismos, one runs Tiger and combos with iPhone, other runs MintPPC and will do Leo-Python work there with Bazaar

Overall Learning

- challenges norms on presentation and structure in a blog setting
- usage of hyperlinks and various other forms of links to craft an outline for a structured document
- very technical style of writing, in-depth
- hyperlinks lead to further information on certain terms and program names, such as Tinderbox
- very personal feel to it, mentions technology used for the document
- shows various kinds of links and hyperlink text to add to the stretchtext, educational
- shows how various links are created via Sidemark language, written out for those to understand
- stretchtext allows summary format and hooks to prompt further discovery in the document
- series of dropdown menus, different use of stretchtext, conflict with Nelson's definition
- coding usage, hypertext to code hypertext, markup language
- experimentation is always going on, conflict with Krug, not concealing this experimentation

Large Argumentative Hypertext

- books versus hypertext, former puts pressure on latter
- open up readers' horizons, greater variety of materials and voices, some do not come to a conclusion, each node is not a complete argument
- offers room for wandering and reflected without the narrowed focus on the conclusion, means to get reader to and beyond conclusion
- points are argued, qualified, and linked to other points; distant hypertexts points are put in relation to each other, should see argument coming into focus as a whole rather than a linear step-by-step process
- linear structure versus "tangles" of links, creates growing and gradual familiarity with the whole work
- make sure "crucial nodes" are visited by every reader and that the reader is prepared to encounter these
- pyramid outline creates a predefined map of the whole, provides organization and orientation, may be too difficult for the reading styles of readers
- issue of typed links, lack of clues about link's movement (close or far from current narrative section) could confuse readers, too many links could result in being ignored
- want narrative sections to refer and interleave to each other
- Google drop-ins mess up defined paths and starting points, no problem for info-delivering hypertexts, navigation devices must be used to keep drop-in readers reading
- typed links can indicate paths appropriate to different purposes and different sorts of readers, predefine available types of reading
- two kinds of info a reader wants when following a link, nature of destination and the discursive move or discourse function between the two nodes
- simple markings versus link titles, former was confusing, latter was experimental, fear of driving readers away from crosslinks
- too many links on a page may distract, slower reading, more cognitive effort, deepen understanding and enrich reading experience, too much structure maybe
- can appear fragmented in presentation, main idea is not fully developed due to clicking through several pages, addition of sophisticated navigation tools could make this more manageable, some way to make and save paths through hypertext
- one can only surf, cannot peek ahead to conclusion to understand how and why a hypertext piece fits, presentation comes off as playful, impossible to consume more than a few pages at a time
- permits freedom to explore topics in different orders, yet can cause a bit of disorientation
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