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What the Geeks Know: Hypertext and the Problem of Literacy Stuart Moulthorp University of Baltimore Presented by Olivia Porter
How does literature, particularly serious literary work, compete with the internet, popular entertainment, and other increased demands on leisure time?
Overview Catching waves Misreading reading What the geeks know Literacy in Babylon
Hypertext- a definition According to Theodor Nelson, a hypertext is generally a computerized document that allows users to easily access it, search it, and navigate it, usually through a series of links between documents; and rather than the reader sifting through the text, travelling toward the desired pages, the hypertext document brings those words to the reader. Hypertexts give readers more control to shape their reading experience than ever before. The most extensive example of hypertext today is the World Wide Web.
Hypertext and Literacy Traditional understanding of literacy is inadequate for new and complex digital discourse Moulthrop (2005) argues that we should define hypertext on the basis for a new version of general literacy
Normal text vs. hypertext Example: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext
Dalgaard and Liestol identify three waves in the history of hypertext 1st wave: pioneers such as Nelson, Engelbart, and Van Dam originated the concept and built the first experimental systems. 2nd wave: the introduction of personal computers and popularization of the internet, produced widely distributed systems and the first examination of their uses and implications. 3rd wave: Arrival of the World Wide Web and refinement of existing technologies.
Hypertext as reality, not novelty. “a communication environment in which virtually all texts are exposed to automated search, retrieval and hypertext reference” (Dalgaard, 2001) Archive refers to any application of hypertext.
Hypertext and print culture Moulthropsees the need to re-examine earlier approaches The ‘archive’ and digital media in general have yet to establish legitimacy
Misreading reading The WWW continues its global expansion Rise of the blogosphere: LiveJournal, Wordpress 2003- US National Endowment for the Arts released a report titled ‘Reading at Risk’ focusing on the declining interest in leisure reading of literature. In another half century, there will be no paying customers for fiction and poetry, aside from compulsory assignments in schoolrooms Americans will be less inclined to think critically, vote, or take part in civic life. The report is confined solely to books, fiction, poetry and drama. Electronic archives, audiobooks, weblogs, USENET groups, WIKIs, or MUSs and MOOs were not included in the study. The findings of this report are indicative of a larger problem.
Misreading reading Electronic media is seen as a threat to conventional print publishing. Demonstrates the ignorance towards digital technologies, as well as the problem to see the electronic archive as a possibility for literacy to evolve continuously
What the geeks know Encounters between old and new media are inherently adversarial (adverse) and never assured of balanced resolution innovation in communication seems to be inescapably problematic. The epistemology (theory of knowledge) of electronic text is radically different from conventional writing.
Semantic web Moultrop questions: “How should education respond to the challenges of an increasingly mediated world?” “How can it enable young people to become active, and critical participants?”
The concept of ‘universal without totality’ offers a promising way to unify theory and practice in thinking about the archive. Universality- discourses or methods available to all. Totality- claims to the absolute truth. Postmodernism discarded both
Literacy in Babylon ‘The Lottery in Babylon’ published in 1941. A fictional civilisation in ancient Babylon which reorganises its epistemology around a municipal numbers game. Anything that happens in the city, good or ill, artificial or natural, is thought to be determined by repeated throws of the dice, iterated on some vast and unknown scale. Perhaps God does not play at dice with the universe, but then again, perhaps God is the dice
Literacy in Babylon Literacy can no longer be ceded to print culture alone A new definition of literacy founded on pathwork in the hypertextual archive He concedes that such a change in agenda will not automatically fix the widespread misunderstanding of media But he is confident that those ideas will tend to exceed initial expectations
PROPUBLICA: THE DEADLY CHOICES AT MEMORIAL http://www.propublica.org/special/interactive-inside-memorial-medical-center ABC: BLACK SATURDAY http://www.abc.net.au/innovation/blacksaturday/ VISUAL LITERACY- THE BLACK SHEEP AGENCY http://theblacksheepagency.com/explore/
Other digital literacy programs Programs are now developed around increasing participation and engagement in their target groups and incorporating skills development in new emerging digital technologies. (ACMA, July 2000)
Digital media and learning Henry Jenkins- The White Paper’- ‘Confronting the Challenges of Participatory culture: Media Education for the 21st Century’ Project New Media Literacies http://www.newmedialiteracies.org/the-literacies.php
Discussion questions Today’s readers analyse multiple representations from a variety of disciplines, including texts, photographs, artwork, and data. How do we write for a medium when we can’t predict what the reader might click?
Discussion questions How can hypertextual documents prevent reader disorientation? Advanced computer technology for storing and retrieving information - and the electronic ‘hypertext’of words and images- is changing both the experience of reading and, according to some scholars, the very nature of what is read. Do think your reading habits have changed? How so?
The machine is u/sing us http://youtu.be/NLIGopyXT_g
References Australian Communication Media Authority (ACMA) 2010, The ACMA digital media literacy research program. Viewed 16 May 2011, http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc-PC_311472 Buckingham, D. 2003. Media Education: literacy, learning and contemporary culture. Cambridge: Polite Press. Levy, P. 2001, Cyberculture, Minneapolis U. Minnesota Press. Jenkins, NML White Paper 2009, viewed 16 May 2011. http://newmedialiteracies.org Livingstone, S. 2003, The Changing Nature and Uses of Media Literacy. Working paper. London, London School of Economics. Viewed May 16 2011, http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/media@lse/mediaWorkingPapers/ewpNumber4.htm Nielsen, J. (1995) Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond. Steinmetz and Nahrstedt, Chapter 1: Introduction, History of Multimedia Systems, viewed May 17 2011, www.cs.sfu.au/CC/365/mark/material/notes/Chap1/Chapt1.html Hypertext, Wikipedia, viewed May 16 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext PROPUBLICA: THE DEADLY CHOICES AT MEMORIAL, http://www.propublica.org/special/interactive-inside-memorial-medical-center ABC: BLACK SATURDAY, http://www.abc.net.au/innovation/blacksaturday/ VISUAL LITERACY- THE BLACK SHEEP AGENCY, http://theblacksheepagency.com/explore/ YouTube, ‘The Machine is us/ing us, viewed May 17 2011, http://youtu.be/NLIGopyXT_g