Hypertext and History
Prof. Alvarado
MDST 3703
1 October 2013
Business
• Quizzes due before class on Thursday
Review: Text
• We began by looking at texts as isolated units
– stories, folktales, myths, dramas, etc.
• We showed how te...
Review: Hypertext
• Last week, we saw that when viewed from the
perspective of the library, this model breaks
down
• Texts...
This week, we move from modeling
the text to the text as model
Text as a model of history
How are history and text related?
Historians tells stories
Stories, according to Aristotle,
describe action
What kind of action?
[The Action of Heroes]
So, histories tells stories about
people
They are also written from different
perspectives and motivations
What are some k...
[Great man theory]
The Great Man theory of history
Historical Materialism
Christian Eschatology
It’s Complicated
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/apr/29/mcchrystal-afghanistan-powerpoint-
slide#zoomed-pictu...
Are these kinds of history told in
the same way?
Is there a connection between
medium and message?
Let’s take art as an example
[Napoleon]
Picasso’s Guernica (1937)
[Guernica]
Ayer’s book, The Promise of the New South, tries
to create this kind of experience in textual form
How does the book do it?
Open vs. Fixed Narrative
• Fixed narrative
– Traditional, linear story showing cause-and-effect
or logical sequence
– Make...
[Quote]
To move away from this
What from this course does this
opposition remind you of?
The problem of overlap
Competing narratives are like
overlapping structures
OHCO : Fixed Narrative
::
Structure : Content
What media form does Ayers
develop after Promise?
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy
rod and thy s...
The Valley of the Shadow
moves beyond Promise
toward open narrative model
The database as radical hypertext
Back story: IATH
• Institute for Advanced Technology in the
Humanities
http://www.iath.virginia.edu
• Established in 1992
...
The Library/Archive Metaphor
What does the site contain?
What’s in the Archive
• Content
– Thousands of primary sources
– Newpapers, letters, diaries, maps, images, gov docs
• Cov...
How hypertextual is the site?
How is “associative indexing”
handled?
(Associative indexing described by Bush as
function o...
Site Structure
• Organized hierarchically
• Terminal nodes (lexia) not connected laterally
• No cross-site searching
• Min...
Does the site fulfill the goals of
open narrative?
No, Ayers put too much faith in
the database to produce the
desired effects
The Differences Slavery Made
An experimental form of
historical publication created in
response to criticisms of VOTS
“an applied experiment in digital scholarship”
What is the specific problem that
TDSM tries to solve?
What was the experiment about?
To give full access to the
scholarly argument
and its evidence
And to relate the two
How were these
problems addressed by
Differences?
Technology
• XML is used to organize content
– The is is made from one big XML file, 24,000 lines long
– XML used to marku...
Devices used by TDSM
• Narrative overlay (the Argument)
• References provided links to lexia
(Historiography and Evidence)...
Major Categories of Site Content
• Narrative
– Summary of argument
– Points of analysis
• Historiography
– Secondary sourc...
Site Structure
• Hierarchy with links
– Menu A: Introduction, Summary, Points, Methods
– Menu B: Evidence, Historiography,...
Darnton’s Pyramid
Concise
account
Expanded
versions of
aspects
Documentation with
interpretive essays
Theoretical and hist...
Core TDSM “Prismatic” Structure
Historiography
Points of
Analysis
Evidence
Summary of
Argument
VOS
How hypertextual is the site?
How is “associative indexing”
handled?
Categories used to organize content
• Geography
• Politics
– Election of 1860
– Political activtivists
• Economics
– Comme...
Categories used to organize content
• Geography
• Politics
– Election of 1860
– Political activtivists
• Economics
– Comme...
Criticisms
• Nothing inherently hypertextual about the site
• Thesis is not that complicated
– Modernity and slavery not o...
Criticism
• Worst of both worlds
– Neither random access nor rich narrative
– Exploits neither the potentials of a real li...
Themes
• The site exposes the process of history as a
form of storytelling
• We move from narrative to database to hyper-
...
Mdst3703 2013-10-01-hypertext-and-history
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  • Ceasar outside of Rome … Crossing the Rubicon
  • Ceasar outside of Rome … Crossing the Rubicon
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/apr/29/mcchrystal-afghanistan-powerpoint-slide#zoomed-picture
  • Compare Guernica image to this …
  • Here’s a way to think about post moderminsm. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF8dm9sK8as&feature=youtu.be&t=5m Or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF8dm9sK8as&feature=youtu.be&t=8m30s
  • http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/VoS/choosepart.html
  • http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/AHR/
  • Mdst3703 2013-10-01-hypertext-and-history

    1. 1. Hypertext and History Prof. Alvarado MDST 3703 1 October 2013
    2. 2. Business • Quizzes due before class on Thursday
    3. 3. Review: Text • We began by looking at texts as isolated units – stories, folktales, myths, dramas, etc. • We showed how texts have been modeled digitally, e.g. by OHCO, XML, TEI, HTML • We also saw that the individual text is not simple – It has levels: Structure, Content, and Style – It has overlapping structures
    4. 4. Review: Hypertext • Last week, we saw that when viewed from the perspective of the library, this model breaks down • Texts appear more as intersections in a network of lexia rather than as stand-alone objects • The idea of hypertext decomposes the unitary text as a temporary formation within a universe of possibilities (the Library)
    5. 5. This week, we move from modeling the text to the text as model Text as a model of history How are history and text related?
    6. 6. Historians tells stories Stories, according to Aristotle, describe action What kind of action?
    7. 7. [The Action of Heroes]
    8. 8. So, histories tells stories about people They are also written from different perspectives and motivations What are some kinds of perspectives?
    9. 9. [Great man theory] The Great Man theory of history
    10. 10. Historical Materialism
    11. 11. Christian Eschatology
    12. 12. It’s Complicated http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/apr/29/mcchrystal-afghanistan-powerpoint- slide#zoomed-picture
    13. 13. Are these kinds of history told in the same way?
    14. 14. Is there a connection between medium and message? Let’s take art as an example
    15. 15. [Napoleon]
    16. 16. Picasso’s Guernica (1937) [Guernica]
    17. 17. Ayer’s book, The Promise of the New South, tries to create this kind of experience in textual form How does the book do it?
    18. 18. Open vs. Fixed Narrative • Fixed narrative – Traditional, linear story showing cause-and-effect or logical sequence – Makes an argument • Open narrative – Many narratives – Questions of cause-and-effect left open, argument left to the reader to surmise
    19. 19. [Quote]
    20. 20. To move away from this
    21. 21. What from this course does this opposition remind you of?
    22. 22. The problem of overlap Competing narratives are like overlapping structures OHCO : Fixed Narrative :: Structure : Content
    23. 23. What media form does Ayers develop after Promise?
    24. 24. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (from Psalm 23)
    25. 25. The Valley of the Shadow moves beyond Promise toward open narrative model The database as radical hypertext
    26. 26. Back story: IATH • Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities http://www.iath.virginia.edu • Established in 1992 • Funded by IBM • VOS one of two founding projects • A demonstration project for IBM; pitched as "as a research library in a box, enabling students at places without a large archive to do the same kind of research as a professional historian."
    27. 27. The Library/Archive Metaphor
    28. 28. What does the site contain?
    29. 29. What’s in the Archive • Content – Thousands of primary sources – Newpapers, letters, diaries, maps, images, gov docs • Coverage – Space: Augusta Co, VA and Franklin Co, PA – Time: 1859 to 1870 • “Value-added” Interfaces – Search and browse – Timelines – Animations • http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/VoS/MAPDEMO/Theater/TheTheater. html – Resources for using the site
    30. 30. How hypertextual is the site? How is “associative indexing” handled? (Associative indexing described by Bush as function of Memex)
    31. 31. Site Structure • Organized hierarchically • Terminal nodes (lexia) not connected laterally • No cross-site searching • Minimal narrative
    32. 32. Does the site fulfill the goals of open narrative?
    33. 33. No, Ayers put too much faith in the database to produce the desired effects
    34. 34. The Differences Slavery Made An experimental form of historical publication created in response to criticisms of VOTS
    35. 35. “an applied experiment in digital scholarship”
    36. 36. What is the specific problem that TDSM tries to solve? What was the experiment about?
    37. 37. To give full access to the scholarly argument and its evidence And to relate the two
    38. 38. How were these problems addressed by Differences?
    39. 39. Technology • XML is used to organize content – The is is made from one big XML file, 24,000 lines long – XML used to markup sources and argument • XSL is used to transform content – We are not learning XSL, but it is similar to CSS but more powerful • GIS is used for map data – Geographic Information Systems – Allows maps to display statistical data
    40. 40. Devices used by TDSM • Narrative overlay (the Argument) • References provided links to lexia (Historiography and Evidence) • Conventions for making citations • Content divided into broad groups, reflecting the craft of history
    41. 41. Major Categories of Site Content • Narrative – Summary of argument – Points of analysis • Historiography – Secondary sources – Annotated bibliographic references • Evidence – Primary sources – Documents – Tables (data) – Maps (This exposes a model of how history is done)
    42. 42. Site Structure • Hierarchy with links – Menu A: Introduction, Summary, Points, Methods – Menu B: Evidence, Historiography, Tools – Each menu item has sub-menus • How does Differences connect to Valley?
    43. 43. Darnton’s Pyramid Concise account Expanded versions of aspects Documentation with interpretive essays Theoretical and historiographical material Pedagogic material
    44. 44. Core TDSM “Prismatic” Structure Historiography Points of Analysis Evidence Summary of Argument VOS
    45. 45. How hypertextual is the site? How is “associative indexing” handled?
    46. 46. Categories used to organize content • Geography • Politics – Election of 1860 – Political activtivists • Economics – Commerce – Crops – Labor – Property • Social structure • Race • Culture – Religion – Education (“school”) – Urbanization (“Town Development”) • Information and communications
    47. 47. Categories used to organize content • Geography • Politics – Election of 1860 – Political activtivists • Economics – Commerce – Crops – Labor – Property • Social structure • Race • Culture – Religion – Education (“school”) – Urbanization (“Town Development”) • Information and communications Missed opportunity?
    48. 48. Criticisms • Nothing inherently hypertextual about the site • Thesis is not that complicated – Modernity and slavery not opposites • Why not put exhibits inline? • Why not show points of comparison in context? – Need for transclusion • Why explain relationship in historiography? Why not create links or use tags?
    49. 49. Criticism • Worst of both worlds – Neither random access nor rich narrative – Exploits neither the potentials of a real library or a digital library • Document-centric – Subject matter remains buried in the documents • It’s strength is in the integrity of the materials • But criticized for being difficult to use • Is it scholarship?
    50. 50. Themes • The site exposes the process of history as a form of storytelling • We move from narrative to database to hyper- narrative • How would you improve the site?
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