Lecture 3: Hypertext Prof. Alvarado MDST 3703/7703 4 September 2012
Business• The weekly blogging cycle – READ, COMMENT, DISCUSS, POST, REPEAT – Comment by Monday at 5 – Post after class on Thursday (by Friday at 5)• Grace period this week …
Review• Digital representation – Anything can be represented by numbers – Numbers are just characters that can be manipulated (sorted, counted, repeated, etc.) – Information is just a series of characters• Can we/you come up with a system to represent taste?
A CODE FOR TASTE? BITTER B: 0..15 SOUR S: 0..15 SALTY T: 0..15 A Code for Taste SWEET W: 0..15 UMAMI U: 0..15 * Every taste can be represented by a five segment number: B.S.T.W.U * Yields a system that can(the tongue map is represent about a millionactually a myth …) flavors (i.e. 165)
Taste “files”Imagine this potato “printed”by a 3D printer andcomposed of 3D “pixels” eachwith a taste value. The “ink”for this printer would be amixture of chemicals that can“print” pure droplets ofsalty, savory, sweet, etc., thatget combined in each pixel.Each element in the source file would be represented by an 8segment number, 3 for the X,Y,Z position, and 5 for the B,S,T,W,Utaste code
LiberationWhat does hypertext liberate us from? How?
“When reading these articles andwatching the video, it immediatelymade think of Quentin Tarantinomovies, The Six Degrees of KevinBacon, and the Choose Your OwnAdventure books I checked out it bulkas a kid – all have this out-of-orderconnectedness, similar to howhypertext functions, that create avery satisfying (user) experience.People don’t naturally seem to thinksequentially – it almost seems likemore of an effort.”
“All of these authors seehypertext as a way to escape themany limitations of theanalog, terrestrial world bymaking text multidimensional andplacing it in a networkedinformational system, whichbreaks down the barriers of alinear world.”
Liberation from …• Hierarchy and linear thinking implied by how books and libraries are organized• Limits imposed by the material form of texts that prevent minds from making natural connections
Where does hierarchy come in? Where do you find it?
HierarchyOrganization of the library Organization of the book
How does digital text overcome these problems? Let’s look at the history …
Prehistory Ritual Writing ComputersLithic Periods 4000 BC 1945 80,000 BC
Timeline1945: Vannevar Bush conceives of the Memex1965: Ted Nelson coins the word “hypertext” andproposes “Xanadu”1967: Andy Van Dam develops first hypertextsystem at Brown1975: ZOG/KMS developed at CMU1987: Apple introduces HyperCard1991: WorldWideWeb at CERN becomes first globalhypertext
Vannevar Bush • American, 1899—1974 • Attended Harvard, MIT, Tufts • Engineer • Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development in WWII • Inventor of memex concept, precursor to hypertext
What is the problem Bushaddresses in As We May Think?
There is a growing mountain of research. AND A record if it is to be useful to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted. BUTPublication has been extended farbeyond our present ability to make realuse of the record.
What makes it hard to find things? The problem of selection
When data are placed in storage, they arefiled alphabetically or numerically, andinformation is found (when it is) by tracing itdown from subclass to subclass. It can be inonly one place, unless duplicates are used;one has to have rules as to which path willlocate it, and the rules are cumbersome.Having found one item, moreover, one hasto emerge from the system and re-enter ona new path. . . . The hman mind does notwork that way. It operates by association.
How does theMemex solve the problem of selection?
It is exactly as though the physicalitems had been gathered togetherfrom widely separated sources andbound together to form a new book. Itis more than this, for any item can bejoined into numerous trails. READING AS WRITING
Key ideas• Associative indexing – “Any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another” – “This is the essential feature of the memex”• Trails and Codes• The idea is to have media model how the mind (supposedly) works• Any analogs in contemporary technology?
Theodor Hom Nelson • American, b. 1937 • Attended Swarthmore College • Studied sociology at Harvard University • Invented term “hypertext” in 1965 • Conceived of Xanadu
“Hypertext is non-sequential writinng” From Literary Machines
Key Ideas• Computer “files” simply reproduce the metaphor of documents and catalogs (hierarchy)• Computers should be “literary machines” – From the beginning they have been used and imaging as machines for representing and manipulating text• Again, the dream is to have them model the way the mind works – Interactive and associative, not static and linear• Nothing is forgotten, nothing is lost (because linked)
Some definitions• Hypertext: Non-sequential writing• Lexia: a unit of text• Link: a segment of text that interrupts the reading of one lexia and moves you to another• Text: a collection of linked lexia• Hypermedia: A hypertext system involving other media, such as sounds, images, and videos.• Latent Hypertext: Hypertext implied in analog media
Types of Hypertext Axial Hypertext RHIZOMIC hypertextAXIAL hypertext
Sir Tim Berners-Lee • English, b. 1955 • Attended Oxford 1976 • Physicist • A fellow at CERN • Inventor of the World Wide Web per se • Unitarian • Made a Knight Commander, Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth
[Angels and Demons]Dan Brown, Angels & Demons, p. 19
“In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal for an informationmanagement system to his boss, Mike Sendall. ‘Vague, but exciting’, were thewords that Sendall wrote on the proposal, allowing Berners-Lee to continue.” (http://info.cern.ch/Proposal.html) [CERN doc]
“CERN is a wonderful organisation. It involvesseveral thousand people …. Although they arenominally organised into a hierarchicalmanagement structure, this does notconstrain the way peoplesocial org] [BL quote are willcommunicate, and shareinformation, equipment and software acrossgroups. … The actual observed workingstructure of the organisation is a multiplyconnected "web" whose interconnectionsevolve with time.”
Berners-Lee’s was the first system to link lexia across the network Hypertext not only linked lexia, but people – across the planet
<a href=“http://www.virginia.edu”>UVA</a> The link in HTML connects more than lexia
Nelson never liked the Web• The web remains bound to the metaphor of the file• Links point to files (for the most part), not to true lexia• Links are also “dumb” – they don’t go in both directions, and they are not named (as Bush would have wanted)• Google has changed this some …