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Computer scientists tend to reach first for usability testing and clinical evaluation when assessing hypertexts and hypertext systems. Other methods and approaches may yield better judgments

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  1. 1. Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill Appear in writing or in judging ill. But, of the two, less dang’rous is th’ offence, To tire our patience, than mislead our sense. Criticism Mark Bernstein ❧ Eastgate Systems Inc. Hypertext 2010
  2. 2. The Paper “Our methods for accumulating and testing • 93 references evidence of a hypertext’s successes and shortcomings • [Aarseth 97]-[Zaid 03] are numerous but poorly understood. This paper • From 1711 to today surveys the most influential approaches to evaluating • From science to art hypertexts and considers their impact on crafting a • We should read more hypertext criticism new literary economy.”
  3. 3. Text Evaluation? ?noitaulavE
  4. 4. William McGregor Paxton, The Housemaid
  5. 5. Poets are partial to their wit, ’tis true, But are not critics to their judgment too?
  6. 6. Lewis W. Hine. Group of newsboys on a stoop at 4th & Market Sts, Wilmington Delaware. "Take our mugs, mister?"
  7. 7. Photo: Lee Russell An Economy of Judgment The disappearance of newspaper and magazine review Mark Bernstein And Diane Greco, “Designing A New Media Economy” Genre XLI 3/4, 2010
  8. 8. Lewis Wickes Hine. A "Reader" in cigar factory, Tampa, Fla. He reads books and newspapers at top of his voice all day long. This is all the education many of these workers receive. He is paid by them and they select what he shall read. There is a lot to read. The most salient economic fact about books: books are numerous.
  9. 9. How do we discover what we need to read? ✤ teachers, friends, colleagues ✤ booksellers ✤ reviews in newspapers, magazines, journals ✤ weblogs Roosevelt reading in front of his tent in hunting camp, 1910.
  10. 10. But there are lots of problems For example, small literary magazines receive thousands of submissions, but have hundreds of readers. Lewis Hicks Wine, Newsgirl, Park Row, New York.
  11. 11. Whoever thinks a faultless piece to see Thinks what ne’re was, nor is, nor ne’er shall be.
  12. 12. What Is Writing the paper: 80 Professor hours @ 100 $8,000 Presenting: 50 professors x 1 hour $5,000 Travel: $1000/ conference ÷ 18 papers/ conf x 50 $2,700
  13. 13. Bad research can be very expensive Tacoma Narrows
  14. 14. William McGregor Paxton, Leaving The More Costs Practitioners learn to despise all research Readers assume our work is “academic” and uninteresting The trade press fills with corrupt pseudo-research. Students leave the field
  15. 15. Evaluation Trust not yourself; but your defects to know, Make use of ev’ry friend — and ev’ry foe
  16. 16. Trust not yourself; but your defects to know, Make use of ev’ry friend – and ev’ry foe.
  17. 17. Miall & Dobson 2006 ✤ Take “The Demon Lover” ✤ Make it into a hypertext (how?) ✤ Ask a bunch of undergraduates to read it ✤ Run the statistics ✤ Write the paper
  18. 18. Moulthrop 1991 To require hypertext to function like a book is a bit like expecting a jetliner to behave like a locomotive: yes, it’s very fast but the blasted thing won’t stay on the rails.
  19. 19. Evaluation and its discontents Usability privileges the first encounter Statistics wash out the exceptional case (when not discarded as an outlier) Unrealistic definition of “work”
  20. 20. “While the results were not statistically significant, we note nontheless that the trend was strongly…”
  21. 21. We don’t Like It
  22. 22. Evaluation ✤ Strength ✤ Not easily swayed by our hopes and dreams ✤ Weakness ✤ Often silent on the matters that matter most
  23. 23. VARIANT: USER CENTERED DESIGN Lewis Wickes Hine, Current Education, 1912.
  24. 24. Who to a friend his faults can freely show, And gladly praise the merit of a foe. Real riticism criti Re al c of cism of r eal real xts! hype hyp erte rtex ts!
  25. 25. Who to a friend his faults can freely show, And gladly praise the merit of a foe
  26. 26. Who to a friend his faults can freely show, And gladly praise the merit of a foe. ✤ Strength ✤ Flexible, concrete ✤ Weakness ✤ Partiality can be masked ✤ Small samples, hard work
  27. 27. William McGregor Paxton, The Breakfast, Metropolitan n Museum Most critics, fond of some subservient art, Still make the whole depend upon a part Essentialism
  28. 28. Most critics, fond of some subservient art, Still make the whole depend upon a part.
  29. 29. It never changes slide 25 from my Hypertext 99 opening keynote
  30. 30. Coover & The Golden Age Hypertext is over; you missed it.
  31. 31. Murray “When we stop thinking of the computer as a multimedia telephone link, we can identify its four principal properties, which separately and collectively make it a powerful vehicle for literary creation. Digital environments are procedural, participatory, spatial, and encyclopedic.”
  32. 32. claptrap ✤ Essentialism run amok: the essence of computational media is that they are pernicious (and so we need not — should not — read them) ✤ Believing hypertext to be pernicious or harmful, these critics read little (Miller, Kakutani) or almost none (Birkerts)
  33. 33. William McGregor Paxton, The Breakfast, Metropolitan n Museum Strengths you don’t need to work very hard Weaknesses you don’t learn much Essentialism
  35. 35. Our sons their fathers’ failing language see, And such that Chaucer is, shall Dryden be.
  36. 36. It was Kael's therapeutic advice to the overcultivated that if they just concentrated on responding to the stimulus, the aesthetics would take care of themselves. What good is form if the content leaves you cold? The academic term for the kind of antiformalism Kael promoted is “postmodernism.” Louis Menand, 1995. Finding It At The Movies. The New Yorker. 42 (5)
  39. 39. Are we reading
  40. 40. Although people sometimes have a hard time deciding whether or not something is art, they are
  41. 41. STRENGTHS situated in intelligent the individual reflection WEAKNESSES
  42. 42. The NeoVictorian Critic Evaluation • Modernism • Essentialism • Postmodernism
  43. 43. In ev’ry work regard the writer’s end, Since none can compass more then they intend; And if the means be just, the conduct true, Applause, in spite of trivial faults, is due.
  44. 44. respect artist work integrity
  45. 45. Dirty hands
  46. 46. Consequences for being wrong
  47. 47. Indifference to persons and
  48. 48. o r i g R a i l et D
  49. 49. t r e rag a v i t n te s b n ain e s o io st
  50. 50. humilit y
  51. 51. doing the work: a commitme to criticism
  52. 52. thank you ✤ Pope On Criticism (1711) ✤ Stacey Mason, Samantha Panepinto ✤ Fonts: Neutraface 2, Epic, Kane, Tungsten ✤ Images: Library of Congress, iStockPhoto, MFA, Metropolitan Museum serious of Art. hypertext since 1982