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Category: Digital Humanities

No new directions in annotation

Web writing is annotation.

Annotations Are the Original Web Writing

The fact that more or less anyone can publish to the web often makes people think that self-publication is its main use. And maybe that is its most common use. But the propleptic visions of Vannevar Bush and Douglas Engelbart, writing in the 1940s and 1960s respectively, remind us of the primary importance of annotations.1

In these early imagined futures of computing, Bush and Engelbart focus on the ability to mark up a document of some sort, the ability to formally instantiate that marked-up document, and the ability to share that with others—each of these three abilities are still fundamental to the way we interact online with text, images, sound, and video. They can also be invaluable aspects of web writing for the liberal arts.

from Web Writing:Why and How.

A Note on Procedural Literacy

The Clearance of the Porcelain Dogs
The Clearance of the Porcelain Dogs flickr photo by mcmorgan08 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

We don’t need no coding knowledge to read. Except

In this view, programming has almost no connection with theoretical and philosophical considerations, with concept and aesthetics, with a design focus on human action and interpretation. This attitude is often adopted by new media scholars and practitioners, including game designers and game studies scholars, who may assume that the “mere” technical details of code can be safely bracketed out of the consideration of the artifact. …

By procedural literacy I mean the ability to read and write processes, to engage procedural representation and aesthetics, to understand the interplay between the culturally-embedded practices of human meaning-making and technically-mediated processes. With appropriate programming, a computer can embody any conceivable process; code is the most versatile, general process language ever created. Hence, the craft skill of programming is a fundamental component of procedural literacy, though it is not the details of any particular programming language that matters, but rather the more general tropes and structures that cut across all languages.

Procedural Literacy: Educating the New Media Practitioner – Michael Mateas | ETC Press

Summer Reading

A few newish works of digital lit for summer.

The iPad and iPhone are closed systems so we have to wait until the artists get involved to make them do something interesting.

  • Wikipedia: The Text Adventure, by Kevan Davis. Start at a selected place and work your way … to someplace else. Source:

The web is an open system, but it takes an artist with programming knowledge to adapt existing content to purpose.

All three are in the same ilk as A Humament, by Tom Phillips, and work by J R Carpenter.