Literature vs. Hypertext – The Impending Battle
Electronic text or hypertext offers three distinctive features from the traditional form of literature.
Searchability: searching and locating data is much simpler, with the help of search engines and databases than using a search function in a library or an index in a book.
Links: links within and between documents allow a user to explore wide ranges of data and make connections to supplementary and related text.
Accessibility: self-publication on the Internet allows for a huge rise in quantity of published information, bypassing the delays and constraints of traditional publishing structure. For the user, this means a convenient and inexpensive way to access huge amounts of data that is unavailable in traditional media.
Information technology, particularly the Internet has been, and will continue to be, a huge influence on culture. The Internet encourages a changing sense of geography, capable of influencing globalisation in a way that was previously unavailable, following Benedict Anderson's theory of the imagined community.
Do you think your experience of the book would have been more authentic, given access to your own personal detective unit or do you think that your experience would have been tainted by the responsibility upon you to make your own decision, instead of using the literature as an escape point, to be taken at face value and not analysed further?
The reader is no longer subject to the written self. Freed of conventional forms, the reader becomes the user, a producer of the text. This is expanded in Barthes's Pleasure of the Text
Barthes: the networks are many and interact, without any of them being able to surpass the rest. This text is a galaxy of signifiers... it has no beginning... we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can authoratively declared to be the main one.
Hypermedia urges readers beyond the closures and certainties of print and urges them to explore the new cultural world of the Internet.
Do you agree with this? That the literary experience of the Internet has so far proved itself to be so separate from the traditional forms? Where do you think this is going? Do you think you would ever abandon traditional books in favour of reading online?
Hypertext is accused of inflicting suffering on the canonical literary text, an erosion of its previous sanctity and aura.
Literature on a laptop is uncomfortable, that a laptop is not convenient or portable, in particular if Wi-Fi or wireless Internet aren't available.
Print books are durable and are kept on hand by libraries for the sake of history. Hypertext is volatile, dependant on the owner or host of the information to keep displaying it.
Internet version may be easier to find and acquire. Technology still has a long way to go in terms of creating a device on which downloaded books may be as portable and pleasurable as a printed edition.
In order for downloadable text to become a mainstream practice, it is cultural attitude that must change
Conditions based on the subjective, consciousness, judgements, perceptions and emotions have been created around the virtual as a world which exists next to the 'real world,' rather than a further exploration of reality as a whole.
Digital culture is in fact, a melding of the human culture with the man made technology.
The virtual world, an intentional object constituted for consciousness through perception, memory and signification is still constituted as the same identical object as the real world. Consciousness is directed at the two in direct perception, which is why virtual community is even possible, why software like Second Life and other virtual reality games become so apparently real to people.
Where does literature fit into this digital environment? Will society be able to let go of their inherent attachment to the real world concept and embrace the digitial environment as a further experience of their consciousness? Do you think the authenticity of the print book is simply an inherent link between our ancestors and socio-economic notions? Do you think it's a romantic notion to have a tangible copy rather than engaging in hyperreality?
The Internet is definitely a huge influence to our culture, one which has even been deemed a democratic technology, an opportunity for marginalised culture, and a tool for globalisation, to assist in the realisation of the imagined community. The Internet follows a postmodernist discourse, in that it offers a regenerative energy to trangress the boundaries set by modernism and nationalism, to call attention to to the sphere of culture as shifting social and historical construction
Hill, J (2009). 'Publishers head to Online Networks' in Sydney Morning Herald Accessed on 23 rd March, 2009 from: http://www.smh.com.au/news/digital-life/games/articles/publishers-head-to-online-networks/2009/03/18/1237054828769.html
Bolter, J, D. (2001) Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print , Second Edition. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.