October 25, 2005

Ted Nelson vs. Berners-Lee ...

... Ted Nelson, Pilgrim father of the Hypertext Universe, fights back to win back the meme: "Semantics", in this case:

"The tekkies have hijacked literature? with the best intentions, of course!-) ? but now the humanists have to get it back." (read the rest!)

"Why don't I like the web? I hate its flapping and screeching and emphasis on appearance; its paper-simulation rectangles of Valuable Real Estate, artifically created by the NCSA browser, now hired out to advertisers; its hierarchies exposed and imposed; its untyped one-way links only from inside the document. (The one-way links hidden under text were a regrettable simplification of hypertext which I assented to in '68 on the HES project. But that's another story.) Only trivial links are possible; there is nothing to support careful annotation and study; and, of course, there is no transclusion."

(via my favorite the Web 2.0-blog that is named Read/Write-Web)

(update:) and of course David from the preoccupations-blog knows much more about all this, including Ted- Nelson-criticisms he probably deserves, via Read/Write Web again, but ... the vision remains. ----

i understand this as: the web has always been a "semantic web" all the way, the way literature is creating and experimenting with fuzzy human semantic webs. and the creation of SemWeb applications should be left (well, not wholly) to us who are doing computational humanities.

yeah! right on, brothers! let's fight back! i'd love to be part of this. in my mind this is interlinked with the activities of michael shanks, media archaelogist in stanford, who had a very interesting foucault-ish dialogue with Sam Schillace (#, #), a programmer/entrepeneur, formerly leader macromedia's Dreamweaver-team, now doing Writely, the Web 2.0 Writing application. ("Dreamweaver", "Writely", "Read/write Web" ... hey, at last i get the philosophy behind something that i just had seen as mere tools until now):

"Sam to Michael:

... The structure of the medium and the tools to create it would need to reflect this. You?d want a theory of documents to fall back on when designing this (middle layer), and some methodology to test, build and refine it (bottom layer).

Michael to Sam

Right. What your are thinking through is a theory less of media and more of what has come to be called discourse (in a Foucauldian rather a than common sense notion), with discourse subsuming different media, but including performatives, communities, hierarchies, gatekeepers, archives, rhetorics, and a whole lot more. ...

Sam to Michael

I suppose that?s true. I thought that a major theme of your work was that the line between discourse and media is blurred, at best."

(this is only a small part of the dialogue)

Posted by martin at October 25, 2005 12:35 PM | TrackBack
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