The very first paper I ever gave at a computer conference was a flop. I didn't know the conventions that informed the delivery of information to the audience. I wasn't part of what Stanley Fish calls the 'interpretive community' for computer conventions . (It might also be the case that it wasn't a very good presentation for other reasons but let's for the moment assume that it was .)
This fact helps to frame the particular question that this paper asks: Is Linking Thinking? and to suggest in advance of the actual argument that the reason it is an interesting question is that just as we are in our adolescent years in terms of hypermedia production tools, we are infants still in terms of having vocabularies, conventions, and methods for interpreting these productions.
It is not as if we in the computing business are somehow alone in missing this particular boat. Peter Lyman, from the School of Information Management Systems at Berkeley, wrote in the volume "Technology and Scholarly Communications" published by the University of California Press and based on a conference held by the Mellon Foundation in April of 1997:
Lyman's observations speak to the heart of the problem of hypermedia scholarship, and raise hard questions about the future of scholarly communications, and the changing roles of various people both on and off campus with respect to the production of knowledge. Who is going to make this stuff? What will be the economics that drive its production, distribution, and consumption? How will it be evaluated? How does it challenge existing institutional practices such as tenure and promotion? As faculty, will you want to make this? As IT-support people, what does one need to know to collaborate on this sort of activity? As librarians, how does one know how to buy it, store it, catalog it, archive it? As a reader, how do you cite it?
This talk then will focus on three things:
1) a set of readings of existing scholarly hypermedia publications and a tentative set of negative
definitions of what on the web is not scholarly hypermedia.
What is Hypermedia Scholarship?
From Assessing to Addressing
What is linking?
What is thinking?
What is addressing?
As is true of all the nouns in the title of this paper, addressing is a complex topic in and of itself. It assumes a stable, durable system of pathways that can be reproduced and communicated. This paper will deal both with the technical developments surrounding addressing and name space, but also with the sense of addressing conveyed by "This paper addresses the problem of scholarship in the new millenium", which speaks to Lyman's point about the need for conventions if not standards to develop around the emerging genres and rhetorical norms of hypermedia. One of the most exhilarating features of the web is that it breaks the hegemony of the publishing industry, which in turn challenges the author and the reader to establish authority without the highly-evolved set of contextual clues that make visible our print culture.
What is Scholarly Hypermedia?
I have a somewhat fussy (if not fuzzy) notion of Scholarly Hypermedia, which is an awkward phrase to begin with. In the hopes of making clearer what the domain of interest is, I will demonstrate some examples of work that while both scholarly and digital do not constitute Scholarly Hypermedia.
It isn't about developing curricular materials academic portals, recovering lost texts, or putting already written books or journals on the web. All of these activities are important and relevant and many of the underlying technical and organizational issues come to bear on hypermedia scholarship, but for the purposes of this essay, they are different than hypermedia scholarship. One of the problems is that the technologies/technologists are imagining only incremental change, and not anticipating the needs of authros and readers who want to take full advantage of the affordances of networked multimedia.
Scholarly Hypermedia is scholarship -- as distinguished from entertainment, 'pure' information, 'simple' translation of print into bits, textbook writing-- that takes advantage of the unique affordances of networked information, here meaning linking, the inclusion of multimedia data types, and so forth.
this site located at: http://mroy.web.wesleyan.edu/talks/linkthink/