Hypertext and the Web
Two interesting new articles are up at Artswire: "Promoting E-Literature by Ethnic Writers" by Jaishree Odin amd "Looking Ahead: New Tools/New Directions for Artists in Computer Technology".
The Egg The Cart The Horse The Chicken: Cyberwriting, Sound, Intermedia by Hazel Smith and Roger T. Dean is available from the Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal. Thanks, Ken Tompkins!
New Kitchen feature: Literature and The Internet: New Forms of Electronic Writing, a trip report covering the recent Paris conference, by Paola Carbone and Susana Pajares Tosca.
Do You Want to Hear About It? by Ruth Nestvold explores the use of the second person in hypertext fiction and interactive narrative. Thanks, Jill Walker!
There are lots of new book reviews at Cyberculture Studies, including reviews of Anne Wells Branscomb's Who Owns Information? , Marie-Laure Ryan's Cyberspace Textuality: Computer Technology & Literary Theory, and Barbara Warnick's Critical Literacy in a Digital Era: Technology, Rhetoric, and the Public Interest.
A recent issue of Dichtung-Digital (English version) includes essays by Anja Rau and Giselle Beiguelmann, and an interview with Tilman Baumgaertel.
The Journal of Digital Information announces a special issue on interactivity in digital libraries, edited by Anita Coleman and Maliaco Oxnam. (Includes a fascinating article on virtual telescopes in education.)
The new issue of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy includes feature articles by Sarah K. Brem and Joyce R. Walker, and discussion of the Computers and Writing Graduate Research Network, and lots of new book reviews.
The latest issue of JoDI features two award-winning papers from the Hypertext '01 conference: Linking in Context, by S. R. El-Beltagy, W. Hall, D. De Roure and L. Carr, and Hypertext Structure as the Event of Connection by Adrian Miles. The papers won the Douglas Engelbart Best Paper award and the Ted Nelson Newcomer Award, respectively.
New at text-e: Authors and Authority by Umberto Eco.
Florian Cramer has translated Fighting/Dancing Words -- Jim Andrews' Kinetic, Concrete Audiovisual Poetry by Robert Simanowski. The essay originally appeared in German. Simanowski's interview with Andrews is also available.
New at text-e: The New Architecture of Information by Francesco Cara and Stephana Broadbent.
"The revolution in information and communication technology may soon turn writing into a relic of the past: it will be replaced by the automatic transcription of speech -- whereas reading is here to stay."
The new issue of the Journal of Digital Information (JoDI) is now available. This special issue on metadata is edited by Traugott Koch of Lund University, Sweden. The journal's editors also announce a new call for papers on interactivity in digital libraries.
The Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies (RCCS) has published a new set of book reviews, including a review of Cybertext Yearbook by Jessica Pressman, with a response by the book's editors, Raine Koskimaa and Markku Eskelinen.
Independents Day offers a week-long festival of writing about the Independent Web, featuring a pair of new essays every six hours from a roster of Web luminaries and pundits, including Halcyon Styn, Sooz Kaup, Mark Bernstein, and Jeff Zeldman.
In the new Dichtung Digital, Anja Rau discusses the first ELO award for electronic fiction and its recipient, Caitlin Fisher's These Waves of Girls.
"It is surprising that the text that was chosen was These Waves of Girls with its reliance on 3-4 year-old technology, its sloppy programming and outdated topic, the treatment of which utterly ignores its predecessors in both print and the digital medium. [...] These Waves of Girls seems to make a case for the old prejudice that only those texts go online that did not find a publisher in the offline world. If this is the best we can do, digital literature will not get out of its niche in the near future."
Mario Lima Calvacanti sends word of his article on hypertext, Para meditar: hipertexto, mais que uma palavra 'linkada' which appeared at Jornalistas da Web. In Portuguese.
Slides from Mark Bernstein's Hypertext '01 talk, Card Shark And Thespis: exotic tools for hypertext narrative, are now available.
"Rather than create complex actors, let's create simple automata that say interesting things about important matters. That's theater." -- Mark Bernstein
A collection of papers from this year's Open Hypertext Workshop is now online. Lots of intriguing titles, from DeRoure's "Introduction to Sotonoid Papers" (a pun on Soton for the prolific OHS groups at the University of Southampton) to Tanaka et al. on "Meme Media and Meme Pools".
As a writing tutor at Georgetown University, I have seen so many students create rigid outlines for their essays, outlines that never allow them to explore contradicting points or new ideas that arise through the writing process. In education, technology gets a "bad rap" for being playful and game-oriented. But there are many elements of technological "play" that can actually empower student voices in education. We simply need to be willing to take that risk, to explore new technological mediums with our students and see what happens.
New at Dichtung-Digital: essays by Roberto Simanowksi,; interviews with Annette Schindler and with Laurence Rilly and Jens Schmidt (winners of the Berlin Beta-2000 Flash Award; and much more. In German and English.
Jeremy P. Bushnell, author of the Chicago-based serial hypertext Imaginary Year, has launched a weblog, Narrative Technologies, which focuses on the intersection of literary textual production and communications technology. The weblog is also designed to report on related topics, including hypertext / electronic writing, media ecology, interface design, and information art.
The new issue of JoDI is now available, with articles by Miall, Dobson, Pagendarm, and Schaumburg.
A recent issue of Postmodern Culture features "Reveal Codes: Hypertext and Performance," by Rita Raley.
If you're into cyberpoetry, don't miss The North American Centre for Interdisciplinary Poetics, where you can post articles, add links, and read some fascinating essays, including Alaric Sumner's Dominating Performance, Regulating Text. The site also includes a section on cyberpoetry and poetics edited by Brian Stefans.
Susana Pajares Tosca writes, "I have updated Hipertulia with one of the first lyric hyperfictions in Spanish: Desde aquí, by Mónica Montes." In Spanish. Thanks, Susana!
Adrian Miles has a neat new blog . His recent review of the Hypertext Kitchen was so fulsome the chef blushed:
Hypertext Kitchen is somewhere to keep an eye on for recent news, sites, conferences and stuff in hypertext, hypermedia and all that. been around for a few years now (i think) and it was/is in many ways a protoblog in its own ways - laid out with new information replacing old, old being archived, and an informal, curious, and conversational tone dominating.
oh, and it largely relies on a community of friends for information, it's a community making and reflecting event.
Thank you, thank you, Adrian!
Matt Neuberg reviews Storyspace 2 in TidBITS. From the review:
Serious hypertext is intriguing, cutting-edge stuff; Eastgate Systems has created a home for authors of such hypertexts, and they even sell original fiction and non-fiction works in Storyspace format. For those searching for truly interesting ways to work with text, whether for personal use or for eventual distribution, Storyspace is definitely worth a look. At the very least, I recommend playing with the demo version and reading through the user stories Eastgate has collected from people in far-ranging fields. You might decide that Storyspace is just what you need.
Pif turns 50! Pif Magazine celebrates its 50th issue with new art from Ted Warnell; fiction and poetry by Ann de Forest, Richard Madelin, Suzanne Frischkorn, and yermiyahu ahron taub; reviews by Emily Banner, Tom Janulewicz, and Rachel Barenblat; a profile of Philip Glass by Eric Sean Weld; The Art of Windows, a new digital arts essay by Diane Greco; and an interview with Rick Moody by Camille Renshaw.
Moody on audience, from the interview: I don't ask who the reader is, I don't ask what he or she wants. I don't ask whether she is Chilean or he is wheelchair-bound. I don't ask whether the reader's dream gets broken if I use footnotes, although I might ask whether I can use them differently from David Wallace.
"These unobtrusive windows are central to the felt experience of using a computer. They focus attention and structure work, usually so quietly no one notices them until they start moving or closing unexpectedly."
New at dichtung-digital: an interview with Markku Eskelinen and Raine Koskimaa on "temporal cybertext", the "psychology of addressing," Anja Rau reports from Providence, and more.
New at the Berliner Zimmer: Hyperfiction - Openness and Interpretation by Sonja Wuertemberger critiques hyperfiction as classically "open work" in Umberto Eco's sense. No discussion of actual hypertexts, but certainly an unusual addition to this German zine.
Issue 49 of Pif Magazine is now available, with fiction by Shawn Schepps, poetry by Carrie Becker, Christopher Locke, Elisha Porat, and Barbara Daniels, recommendations by Camille Renshaw, reviews, commentary, and much more!
Seeking summer reading? Check out this bibliography of electronic literature by Elayne Zalis. Thanks, Ken Tompkins!
Mark Bernstein's latest article, The Narrative Web: Beyond Usability and Design is now available at A List Apart. In this article, Bernstein shows how narrative strategies in Web design can generate unusually interesting and meaningful Web experiences.
Issue No. 48 of PIF MAGAZINE is now online! Editor Camille Renshaw's new column, Art and Technology News, has a featured link to Eastgate's latest Hypertext Now: Diane Greco's interview with Nick Fisher, author of the BBC's first interactive drama, The Wheel of Fortune.
Pif's Poetry, Fiction and Cyberart Contest deadline has been extended to 15 May 2001.
Journalist David Berreby shares some thoughts on Storyspace 2.
In Storyspace 2, I know I can make and unmake structure with ease. I find the boundary between writing and organizing has practically disappeared."
The Journal of Digital Information announces a special issue on Networked Knowledge Organization Systems, edited by Traugott Goch. Please note: JoDI no longer requires readers to log in before viewing the papers.
The April 2001 issue of TEXT is now available. The issue features "To The Vector Go the Spoils," an essay on teaching new media writing by McKenzie Wark. The issue also includes Writing OnLine/OnLine Writing, edited by Komninos Zervos.
Trellix head Dan Bricklin has published a new essay, The 'Computer as Assistant' Fallacy , arguing that some tasks are intrinsically hard. They require thought and practice and care, and we shouldn't expect computers to magically make them easy. Cooking, for example, takes care and practice; appliances save lots of time, but there's still lots to learn. If you're waiting for Microsoft to design a kitchen that works without skill, cookbooks, and occasional tech support calls to your mother, prepare to be very, very hungry.
Many people think that the barrier to some applications is how hard they are to learn to use and that they will only catch on when it's "brain dead simple" to learn. I think in many cases the real problem is that the application is just not that valuable to the people -- they have ways to do the same thing that are OK or they just don't care. The challenge is in creating the right tools that are appropriate to the task as seen by the individual, and having the use be worthwhile. Making it "simple" often is translated into making it less flexible but it is often the flexibility we look for in our tools as humans.
Check out Game Culture, a new website devoted to "research and current thinking about computer game culture." Thanks, Adrian Miles!
At Jack Magazine: Talan Memmott's CD FOR DERRIDA, a report from the Book/Ends conference held recently at SUNY Albany. Memmott is the editor of Beehive and winner of the recent trAce/Alt-X New Media Writing contest.
I see Derrida near the front of the room, I see Alan Sondheim near the middle and go sit with him... At the first opportunity, after three 40-minute papers and 20 minutes of questions, Alan and I, with our separate CDs in hand, make our way to Jacques Derrida. Alan explains that we are artists, participants at the conference. I'm standing in front of Derrida, and I can't think of anything to say to him, nothing that won't make me sound like a dork, so I just hand him the CD. He says, "Thank you very much."
Are you an information fetishist? If you're into blogging (and really, who isn't?), Julian Dibbell thinks you are. Check out Dibbell's essay on blogging, Immaterial World, at FEED.
At their most interesting, [Web logs] embody something that exceeds attention, and transforms it: they are constructed from and pay implicit tribute to a peculiarly contemporary sort of wonder.
Adrian Miles has posted several elegant new installments to his web vog, including a meditation on timelines and narrative design in digital media, an observation on the false promises of webcams, and a discussion of motion and realism.
"any program that thinks or wants to let you write multilinear content, and uses a timeline, think again. [...] it is strange that environments that are for writing multilinear content rely so strongly on linear metaphors and though our stories might still need a teleology, it should not be derived from traversing the path and finding the terminal point.
this is why i fell in love with storyspace. small program. only words. (and i mean only words, you can put pictures, sounds, movies into it, but as far as the words go, choose a font, some rather crude formatting, and that's it.) no timeline. no middle or end. hard to avoid beginnings but its easy to start in the middle in storyspace. or fake it."
Issue No. 45 of PIF MAGAZINE, February, 2001 is now online. Features interviews with Tom Fleming and Leah Stewart, plus details about their writing contest -- cash prizes for cyberart! ($10 entry fee.) Deadline: 30 April.
A new issue of Sequential Tart is now online. Thanks, Matt Hanlon
If you haven't yet checked out the new "Literature and Cyberspace" issue of Poets & Writers, two teaser articles, "Preserving the Word" by Justin Martin and "Observations from Here" by tank20's Rob Wittig, are available on the Web.
After a year of silence, design overhaul, and organizational expansion, ebr returns with a new issue, wEBaRts, focusing on the state of visual arts across the media spectrum. This issue includes a partial review of Patchwork Girl by Shelley Jackson and an essay by Stephanie Strickland, award-winning author of True North.
The December 2000 issue of BeeHive Hypertext/Hypermedia Literary Journal is now available. Features an interview with Greg Ulmer and new work by M. D. Coverley (author of Califia), Mez Breeze, and Kenji Siratori. Congratulations!
The eagerly-anticipated Winter 2000 issue of Riding the Meridian is now available. Includes new hypermedia and web art by Randy Adams, Michael Basinski, Tom Bell, Charles Bernstein and Susan Bee, Diane Caney, M.D. Coverley, Loss Pequeño Glazier, Diane Greco, Jack Kimball, Amy King, David Knoebel, Dan Machlin, Karen Mac Cormack, Mez, Janet Owen, Mark Peters, Carlyle Reedy, Ernest Slyman, Alaric Sumner, Lawrence Upton, and Joel Weishaus. Features Jumpin' At the Diner, "a survey of web-specific literature created by men," curated by Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink [with Jennifer Ley], with commentary by Jay David Bolter and Stephanie Strickland. Also includes a roundtable discussion with Loss Pequeño Glazier, Judy Malloy, Johanna Drucker and Mark Amerika, and reviews by Kristin Prevallet and Ramez Qureshi.
A new installment of Dichtung-Digital, edited by Roberto Simanowski, is now available. Includes interviews with: Stuart Moulthop, author of Victory Garden; Deena Larsen, author of Marble Springs and Samplers: Nine Vicious Little Hypertexts; Alvar Freude and Dragan Espenscheid, creators of the collaborative web environment Assoziations-Blaster!; the photographer Pedro Meyer, creator of ZoneZero; and with author and publisher Mark Amerika.
The Fall 2000 issue of Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments is now online. This issue's theme is "Critical Issues in Computers and Writing."
"A movie based on a novel, a written description of a photograph, a painting reproduced in a gallery in cyberspace. This is remediation. One media grows out of another, creating an entangled vine. None exists or even makes sense without those that came before."
There's a great deal of new writing at Dichtung-Digital! Check out Raine Koskimaa's Reading Victory Garden, Anja Rau's Report on Hypertext 2000, Christiane Heibach's The Distributed Author: Creativity in the Age of Computer Networks, and a new essay by DD editor Roberto Simanowski on When Literature Goes Multimedia.
"The literary guys no longer provide the background music to the receptions."
The October 2000 "Out of Print" issue of PIF includes an interview with William Gass on the fate of books in the digital age, and an essay by Eastgate's Diane Greco on "Out of Print: The Vanishing of a Category."
The Electronic Literature Organization's new directory of readers and writers of electronic literature is now live. Currently the Directory catalogs over 360 authors, 560 works, and 80 publishers. The descriptive entries cover poetry, fiction, drama, and nonfiction that make significant use of electronic techniques or enhancements.
Eric Harshbarger built a full-size, working desk from 35,000 LEGO blocks. Drawers, cable returns, everything -- all scaled to match the color distribution of the big blue tub. A remarkable engineering achievement. Thanks Derek Powazek!
Re-mediation in spades. See below.
McSweeney's publisher Dave Eggers is launching his own book-publishing effort under the name McSweeney's Books. He shared his view of the e-publishing in a recent interview: "We're interested in actual, well-made books that you hold and sniff and run your fingers over, while making purring sounds. E-books have absolutely no visceral appeal, and, like digital watches, just don't feel like they were made by, or meant for, humans."
Come on, Dave, tell us what you really think!
With the release of Michael Crichton's Timeline for the Pocket PC, e-books are all over the news once again.
In Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Jacob Weisberg argued that readers "have much to gain from the new technology...The book is the text's container, not its essence. Appropriate technology for 500 years, it now stands on the brink of improvement. What will replace the bound volume will be, in some ways, truer to the current process of literary creation...In the near future, books will cost little or nothing, never go out of print, and remain eternally available throughout the wired world. Can anyone really be against that?"
Well, Harold Bloom is. In Sunday's New York Times Style section, Bloom weighed in on e-books with harsh words for Crichton's story and its delivery mechanism: "Mr. Crichton's prose is as dead as the 14th century, and if you're reading it on a hand-held computer, it is a double ordeal, physical and stylistic."
Finally, Steven M. Zeitchik writes, in The Nation, that the "sweet, mysterious e-book" is going to be a hard sell to most Americans: "Convincing a reading public entrenched in its current reading habits to change often feels like trying to teach a pig to sing -- it doesn't work, and it annoys the pig."
"Words on the Verge," a panel on literary publishing and the Web, was a great success. Held at the Housing Works Used Bookstore & Café in New York City's Soho, more than 100 people attended the event, which was cosponsored by the Council for Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), Literal Latté, and Fence. Panelists included Eastgate editor Diane Greco and hypertext author Bill Bly, who both argued long and hard for the Web's importance, not only as a new distribution channel, but also for creating new kinds of storytelling.
In a tense moment, one of the panelists (you can guess who) deadpanned, "The prestige associated with print publishing is vastly overrated," which, for some reason, brought down the house.
The second issue of the Dalkey Archive's CONTEXT is now available. The issue features writings on Carole Maso, Jacques Roubaud, and Jean Rhys, as well as excerpts from the work of Laurence Sterne, Gustave Flaubert, and William Carlos Williams, and cultural commentary from Peter Dimock, Thomas Frank, Gilbert Sorrentino and others.
Britannica.com asks, "Is hypertext spearheading literature's escape from the printed page, or are its practitioners merely mimicking their paper predecessors and trading one narrative prison for another?" Ted Kleine reads history backward, surveying English literature for those ever-elusive hypertext "precursors".
Hypertext Kitchen scoops Wired News! If you were reading the Kitchen last week, you wouldn't have had to wait for M. J. Rose's Wired News article, "E-Books Join the Club" to learn about Publishers' Weekly's new e-publishing department. Way to cook, Kitchen!
The Hypermedia Design Pattern Repository, the "the growing NEW agora for Web designers, researchers and IT professionals," reports the release of four new patterns and encourages readers to submit more.
Bruce Sterling has compiled a marvelous Master-List of Dead Media , a treasure trove for connoisseurs of technological obsolescence. Among the deceased: stentor shouting networks, alpenhorns, pneumatic transfer tubes, and town criers.
Adrian Miles's notable essay, Cinematic Paradigms for Hypertext is now available on the Web.
"The essay deals with hypertext writing, links and the ideal of the university, in the context of a dispute with Sanford Kwinter about whether a wired world and new media are by their nature oppressive."
Brian Lennon has given The Iowa Review Web a new look.
The latest issue of Convergence, The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies is now available. This issue includes an essay, "Remediation and the Desire for Immediacy," by Jay David Bolter, co-author (with Richard Grusin) of Remediation: Understanding New Media and author of Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing.
Of particular interest in the new Riding The Meridian is a roundtable discussion on "Women and Technology: Beyond the Binary".
Is the issue whether technology could embrace a warmer, less machine-like aesthetic? Are women supposed to make this their project? This idea seems to reinstate the stereotypes that kept women out of technology in the first place: women as cuddly, homey, artsy-craftsy folk." -- Shelley Jackson (author of Patchwork Girl)
There's a kind of feminism, which I find highly annoying, that consists in imposing certain values, which are usually explicitly associated with "the feminine" ... like "indeterminacy" and "multiplicity" ... so that any work that seems to evince these qualities is valuable and everything that doesn't, isn't. Leaving aside the questionable nature of this kind of criticism, which attempts to put evaluative criteria ahead of the works themselves, there is this issue of associating these fuzzy values with "the feminine," which works to reinforce the stereotype that women aren't equipped to handle a hard-headed discipline like computing.... In opposing "feminine" qualities like empathy with "masculine" militarism and competitiveness, what this Big-Mother-feminism often boils down to is a coercive injunction to "just be nice." -- Diane Greco (author of Cyborg)
Postmodern Culture announces the winners of their annual essay prize. The 1999 winning essays are: Terry Harpold's "Dark Continents: A Critique of Internet Metageographies" (January 1999), and Jed Rasula's "Textual Indigence in the Archive" (May 1999). Congratulations!
Stirring : A Literary Collection is a monthly, online literary publication that collects " the best of the web's burgeoning writers for publication." Stirring publishes scripts, short stories, and poems each issue, and also offers free literary critiques. Thanks, Erin Elizabeth!
Many Web order forms include a space for special requests. Customers often need things that Web designers don't anticipate (customs issues, expedited handling, special packaging precautions for war zones). Eastgate reports an unusual request over the weekend:
"Can you please pay my rent next month?"
Jeffrey Zeldman presents: "If Great Movies Had Been Websites". "Here we have the most democratic publishing medium ever invented, and what do people fill it with? The meaningless daily detail of their lives."
The electronic magazine of CIAC (the Centre International d'art contemperain, Montreal) features a long and interesting feature story this month on electronic literature. The essay, by Anne-Marie Boisvert, is perhaps most interesting as providing a convenient entree for English-speaking readers to the work of Parisian hypertext scholar Jean Clement. Also of interest is a list of eight "must-reads" that Boisvert considers vital starting-points for understanding hyperfiction. The essay appears in English and French.
Selections from the Digital Arts and Culture (DAC) '99 webcast are now available in streaming video. ( Try the "low bandwidth" versions first if you're connecting at 56K or slower.)
John R. Smith, Jr. writes to say:
"I am still chucking over Eastgate's "Read in the Tub" postcards. I have one up on my wall. I thought about it today when I downloaded "Charmin' Cleary" into my new Rocket eBook. . . The tub is still off limits, but I was able to read "Charmin' " (which I thoroughly enjoyed) at the barber shop.
Pif Magazine's January issue is devoted to hypertext. Check out hyperfiction by Deena Larsen, hyperpoetry by Fontaine Roberson, 'zine reviews, reviews of e-books and hypertexts including True North by Stephanie Strickland and Patchwork Girl by Shelley Jackson. This issue also includes an interview with Michael Joyce, articles by Eastgate's Diane Greco, and Riding the Meridian editor Jennifer Ley.
In recognition of its contribution to the on-line literary community, the Eastgate Systems website has been selected as a Featured Page by the staff of Pilot-Search.com. Thanks, Richard Luck and Pilot-Search.com!
Blink, formerly a gallery of Flash animation curated by James Paterson, has been relaunched as community of Flash animators interested in sharing and experimentation.
Digital Music Imitates Real Life describes a variety of upcoming interactive performance projects, including a robotic concert planned for a Times Square extravaganza on New Year's Eve, and an opera for which hypertext author Noah Wardrip-Fruin is writing the libretto.
A fascinating new twist from Victory Garden author Stuart Moulthrop: "Computing, Humanism, and the Coming Age of Print". Moulthrop turns "the late age of print" on its head, exploring print-on-demand as a new medium for scholarship.
"This last example suggests perhaps the most exciting application of humanities computing -- in its oldest sense, by the way -- to the next age of print. With many millions of titles potentially available, readers and publishers will need new ways of describing and associating texts. The most significant challenge to browsing and navigation lies in the disappearance of the bookstore or library shelf. "
Simon Buckingham-Shum sends word of an interesting workshop he's helped to organize on computer-supported collaborative argumentation. Position papers are available on the Web; of special interest is Jeff Conklin's report on "Seven Years of Industrial Strength CSCA in an Electric Utility", which discusses applications of a pioneering argumentation system.
Eastgate presentsa Flash movie about reading in the tub, based on its latest mailing. Gallons of bubblebath can't guarantee the tome you took home won't be a snooze.
Grafica is a fascinating collection of news about computer graphics, visual design, and the Web, ranging from file formats to Timothy Housz's Elephant's Memory, an intricate, synthetic pictographic language capable of saying things like "I'm so glad you are pregnant!" or "Do you hear the frog shout?".
The lead of Paige Turner's "Are Banner Ads Really Worth It" is contentious, but the essay itself is a nice survey of the business of Web advertising today, including an explanation of the conditions that make the answer, "Yes." Thanks Web Developer.
Writing in the New York Times (August 15), Anna Novakov discusses A Bucolic Honeymoon for Arts and Science, the Xerox PARC Artists-In-Residence program that resulted (among other things) in the creation of Forward Anywhere by Xerox scientist Cathy Marshall and artist Judy Malloy. (An interesting sidebar appears in the print edition but not, apparently, in the Web version). Thanks, John R. Smith, Jr.!
For an interesting new study of the relationship between classical rhetoric and hypertext theory, see Collin G. Brooke's "Making Room, Writing Hypertext" in Journal of Composition Theory 19.2 (1999) pp. 253-268. Quintillian meets Bernstein.
Native and non-native hypertext: a symposium presentation by Elizabeth Cooper (Virginia Commonwealth University)
The Journal of Online Education has a singularly long home page, but also features a very interesting study of Structured Dissonance and the Art of Building Arguments for the World Wide Web by Sean D. Williams.
True North author Stephanie Strickland, writing in EBR, expresses a hypertext writer's need To Be Both in Touch and in Control. This is what I want: I want to be as able as a spider, sitting astride thousands of webs she has spun, to sense each soft ripple or bursting hail of electrons coming toward me and, of course, those pouring back - from my fingers, my mouth, perhaps even my glance.
Former NY Times Executive Editor Max Frankel argues that the societal costs of "free" new media will prove large. There is no free lunch, and costs Hidden In The Web are very real. "While literally billions of speculative dollars are being amassed, invested and turned into overnight fortunes in this effort to develop and control the means of transmission in the coming age of instantaneous information, investment in the actual gathering of information by conventional journalistic means is in apparent decline, under the banner of cost control"
Jakob Nielsen spotlights the ratio between Yahoo's earnings and their number of page views, finding the ratio holds steady at 0.4 cents per page (or $4 CPM). This is interesting and useful data, although Nielsen may be mistaken in arguing that this shows that only large sites can live off advertising revenues. Nielsen's useit, for example, is a minor adjunct to his consulting practice, but at this rate useit.com alone would bring him earnings -- after salaries and expenses -- of $25K this year. growing at perhaps 40% annually.
An account of Declan Dunn's Web99 talk on affiliate programs offers some interesting statistics. Content providers average $200/month from affiliate programs; with customer acquisition costs ranging as high as $170/customer through traditional means, affiliate programs can be generous and remain cost-effective.
Web Review's Derrick Story interviews Digital Storyteller Dana Atchley on Emotional Branding Through Digital Storytelling. Atchley, best known as a performer, helped Coca-Cola build a storytelling theater in their Los Vegas theme park. Atchley is the driving force behind the annual Digital Storytelling Festival.
Jakob Nielsen revisited his 1996 list of Top Ten Mistakes of Web Design. He found that people continue to make the same errors (often through ignorance or inattention, sometimes because they disagree with Nielsen). In addition, Nielsen identifies ten new mistakes that arise from new technology and from applications that didn't exist in 1996.
Other Notable Reading and Surfing
Kartoo a new generation meta-search engine with an intriguing non-Boolean, cartographic interface. Web sites identified by a search are placed on a map; the sites are represented by balls, sized according to relevance. The balls are connected by dynamic semantic links. Clicking on the link allows you to add or subtract the theme to your initial request. Thanks, Nick Fisher!
Aetherica: The Electromagnetic Education Initiative is a multiphase collaborative project which seeks to organize electromagnetic information online, conduct basic research in electromagnetic literacy, and design and build an interdisciplinary foundation for the further study of electromagnetism in various learning environments online and offline.
Charles Deemer's full-length hyperdrama The Bride of Edgefield is available now, online as a hypertext document, in celebration of its fifteenth birthday. (Go to the site, and select "Hyperdrama".)
BT has staked a patent claim on hypertext links. From The New York Times.
In celebration of its tenth anniversary, Lingua Franca has put together several special archives of articles "dealing with some of the particular issues that shaped nineties academic life most dramatically." Among them is an archive of papers on academic computing.
The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of new electronic editions of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (copy G) and Visions of the Daughters of Albion (copy P), both printed circa 1818. The electronic editions have newly edited SGML-encoded texts and new images scanned and color-corrected from first-generation 4x5" transparencies; text and images are fully searchable.
The Cuneiform Digital Library is an extraordinary international initiative dedicated to making the form and content of ancient cuneiform tablets (dating from the beginning of writing, ca. 3200 B.C., until the end of the third millennium) available online. The CDLI, directed by Robert. K. Englund of the University of California at Los Angeles and by Peter Damerow of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, is pursuing the systematic digital documentation and electronic publication of these 3rd millennium sources. Cooperative partners include leading experts from the field of Assyriology, curators of European and American museums, and specialists in text markup. The CDLI data set will consist of text and image, combining document transliterations, text glossaries and digitized originals and photo archives of early cuneiform.
A project to watch: Check out the Encyclopedia and Hypertext project, by Olga Pombo, António Guerreiro, António Franco Alexandre, and others. Of particular interest is their proposal for an investigation of "The Image Atlas of Aby Warburg." The idea, say the investigators, is to create a Web hypertext as "a final product and as a laboratory, a result of the research and a practical experimentation through which we intend to find enriching basis for the theorization of hypertext as an object of philosophical reflection." Includes an extensive bibliography. In Portuguese and English.
Noodle, an interactive music mixer, is available for download from Real World Media , which also produced Ceremony of Innocence, the award-winning multimedia CD based on Nick Bantock's Griffin & Sabine.
"I am taking pictures in an imaginary city. Those images have been created in my mind but this time I capture them with another 'machine', not with my camera, but my personal computer. It is a tool which I use to give form to an incorporeal offspring of my imagination. Nevertheless, imagination drafts its material from memory." - Effi Fotaki
Don't miss Matthew Mirapaul of the NY Times on the brouhaha surrounding the Prix Ars Electronica. Previous winners include Neal Stephenson and Linux.
The new issue of Switch features articles about: bacteria as models for wireless devices, Thomas Kinkade's multimedia empire, an interview with Eduardo Kac, and a study of the technological, linguistic and social relationships between all kinds of fibers, from digital to textile.
A New York Times article features science fiction author and computer scientist Vernor Vinge, whose 1981 novella, True Names, anticipated a networked world much like that described in "Burning Chrome," the short story by William Gibson in which the word "cyberspace" first appeared. "True Names" is being reissued by Tor Books in True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier, a collection of stories and essays by computer scientists to be published in December.Thanks, George Landow!
The new issue of ZoneZero includes a fascinating photo essay about Pedro Meyer's recent trip to England.
Indulge your code fetish: The 13th edition of the electronic magazine of the Montreal Centre International d'Art Contemporain (CIAC), Language Transformed by The Machine, is now online. It focuses on the relation between natural language and languages as programmed in Web art. In French and English. Thanks, Adrian Miles!
The hypermedia Web zine BeeHive has introduced BeeHive Microtitles, a collection of short titles in PDF, formatted for PDAs. The first series includes essays by Brian Lennon, Thomas Zummer, and Ryan Whyte. Free download.
Viral marketing and Web narrative converge with cloudmakers.org, the hub of Web promotion for the new Spielberg movie, A.I. Interestingly, the Web promotion, which involves a murder mystery spun out across a slew of websites dramatizing a near-future of robot emancipation, has spawned a galaxy of "players" in an increasingly elaborate game. Read a related article at Wired.
Alt-X Online Network has announced the release of eight original ebook and Palm titles, including previously unpublished work by George Chambers, Ron Sukenick, Eugene Thacker, Mark Amerika, Nile Souther, Raymond Federman, Alan Sondheim, and Adrienne Eisen. Free downloads.
This summer, ebr presents a new feature on creative writing programs, including an extensive hypertext essay by Joe Amato and Kass Fleisher, who suggest that creative writing, particularly as found in the typical workshop, might benefit from a "major, theoretically informed, re-visioning." RiPOSTes to the essay give conflicting assessments from inside and outside the workshop. In her riPOSTe, Marjorie Perloff addresses a secondary question: with the transformation of English into Cultural Studies, where else but in writing programs will literature be read?
Everybody wants to rule the world. Too bad only about fifty people actually get to. Find out who they are at theyrule.orgo.org, a set of Java maps of the directors of multinationals.
The winners of the 2001 Bulwer-Lytton contest, an annual competition of extremely bad prose, have been announced. The site includes hilarious excerpts from each category, from "Purple" to "Dark and Stormy" to (our favorite) "Vile Pun".
When does a game cease to be a game? Is it when the computer feels like an organic extension of your consciousness or when you may feel like an extension of the computer itself? This paper explores SimCity and its significance as a simulator not only of reality but consciousness. Computer gaming is essentially process of demystification, discovering how software is organized for a certain set of goals and actions.
Will Wright's new game, The Sims, is now shipping. Wright was the designer who created the urban-planning simulator Sim City. The Sims explores interior design and personal time management as the keys to suburban happiness.
Hey, Scott McCloud fans: Understanding Understanding Comics Thanks, PeterMe!
Peck Here. A well-known hypertext writer recently wrote us to report a recurring dream of an oracular Hypertext Hen. This superlative fowl lives in a teepee covered with words, and will occasionally answer the dreamer's questions by pecking at bits of teepee-text. If this hen belongs in your henhouse, please send email in care of Eastgate, where it will be forwarded to the appropriate parties.
Ira Glass, of the NPR radio series This American Life, discusses 13 facets of good radio storytelling. Thanks Dan Bricklin!
Interactive Spectrum has an interesting report on SIGGRAPH 99 by Patric Hedlund and Michelle Matossian. "One pixel by itself is a longely thing, but that same pixel with thousands of friends will rule the world."
Andrei Condrescu discusses storytelling in Making Up America."What I do is tell stories. Some of these stories are about how strange America is, which pleases and startles Americans who no longer see themselves as strange.
The Motion Picture Advisory Board is a revealing indicator of American media anxieties. Rachel Lahmann-Haupt interviews film director Colette Burson about her struggles with her Hollywood feature, "Coming Soon". Big stars, big studios, no nudity, but plenty of double standard. Another reason to be glad hypertext isn't (yet) Hollywood.
Modern Maturity (of all places!) has a stunning interview of film critic Pauline Kael, by Susan Goodman. "If you think it is so easy to be a critic and so hard to be a poet ... may I suggest you try both? You may discover why there are so few critics, so many poets." (Thanks, Arts & Letters Daily)
Arts and Letters Daily is a weblog on current ideas, writing, and criticism. Its four-column format seems at first to be merely a nostalgic gesture, imitating newsprint, just as does its Latin tagline VERITAS ODIT MORAS. The multi-column display, while ugly and hard to read, opens up interesting opportunities for accidental montage. Thanks to Michael Druzinsky for the tip.
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