I’m enjoying CommentPress, thanks!
Only because I didn’t take the time to go through and make them into links, which was silly of me. The final version of the article (available at http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/commentpress) does have active links in the bibliography, though.
i like the concept and how you made use of it. might be interesting for our journals one day as well.
i just wonder why none of the urls given in the bibliography are active links?
Very well done and thought-provoking overview. Thank you. I’ll be very interested in seeing the kinds of projects the CommentPress theme inspires.
My main interest is in the production of online literary texts, where reader comments may not need to be given as prominent a position as in secondary literature. In that connection, though, your remark about the author of an online book not being able to walk away from a text after publication is also very germain. The flip side of course is that s/he now has the freedom go back whenever s/he wants and make edits to published texts – a significant advantage over printed literary texts.
This is somewhat outside the scope of your essay, I guess, but the real advantage of an electronic format for literary texts, in my view, is the ability to integrate audio recordings via flash players, creating hybrid literary/oral forms.
My second copy of Gaudy Night “stopped working” this year, the binding having failed.
My fourth copy of the CRC handbook languishes in the attic. I don’t use it anymore because Web references are better. But if I did use it, I’d buy a new one because the risks of using obsolete data outweigh the expense. So, my CRC Handbook has stopped working.
My copy of Architectural Drafting Standards will be “stop working” in a year or two, when the new standards are promulgated.
And *any* book that is only available, say, in the Bodlein may be said to have “stopped working” for everyone who lacks a large bank account and plenty of spare time.
This reminds me of the ramble that resulted from meeting all you guys in NJ earlier this year – the tradition of the book vs the character of the net. Authority, fixity, boundedness, physicality, universality (book) as compared to unreliability, mutability, boundlessness, virtuality and specificity (net).
I’d argue that the net makes visible the activity that takes place prior to a text being enshrined in a form evoking the tradition of the book. Hence, dynamic community-based net activity doesn’t replace in-depth, fixed, authoritative scholarly work but rather facilitates those aspects of scholarship that are plainly more fluid and mutable, speeding up conversation and removing the shackles of Authority from kinds of print that chafe under its yoke. Or, to put it another way, I think there always comes a point where you want to write a book – but not everything works best when published that way.
Trite, perhaps. But I think it’s vital to hang onto the idea that there are different forms, with different purposes; and that what works in which form is – as you’ve remarked before – a social question.
“the need to situate the text within a social network, within the community of readers who wish to interact with that text, and with one another through and around that text” YES! This is as much about anthropology as it is about technology”¦
Exactly what I’m hoping to get at – hypertext as a linking structure is a necessary precursor to useful implementations, but in and of itself it’s only links – only clicking”¦
Maybe the problem with “hypertext’s real interactivity” is that hypertext isn’t a solution in and of itself, any more than the network is a solution in and of itself. The problem with the early 1990s model was that hypertextuality by itself was hypothesized as the solution. Instead, it should be seen as a part of the toolkit. It works in Facebook because it’s being used as a tool, not as an end in itself.
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