Joyce, Michael. Othermindedness : The Emergence Of Network Culture / Michael Joyce. n.p.: Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2000., 2000. Old Dominion University’s Catalog. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
Fourth Chapter: “The Lingering Errantness of Place, or, Library as Library”
The fourth chapter of Michael Joyce’s Othermindedness is an interesting look at the place or nature of the library in the digital age. In the digital age, it seems that the place of the library and the digital library or archive are at odds, but Joyce argues that the two types of libraries are complementary. he says, he physical collection must lead us into the electronic collection and the electronic collection must lead us to the physical” (78). he characterizes the rise of electric archives as a “caesura,” a gap, that both allows us to reflect on where we are and exposes a moment of change that seems to offer no solid path to follow. In this gap, Joyce argues, a new mind emerges. He argues that error and wander in navigating the library and archive in the gap provide evidence to the linking the old library to the new library, of the old mind to the new. What is collectable is no longer clear, as hypertextuality offers constant change of text and exposes the way in which some texts in the library are privileged as worthy of being saved. Mistakes or errors in understanding and navigating the collection “tells us something of who we are and who others expect us to be” (73). “Gritty searches” which are quick and numerous, replace more cautious searches, and suggest that we are losing clarity of thought or mind, but in fact they signal “that the particularity of an evolving planet and its creatures are gritty” (74). Megatores are evidence of the way in way in which the collection needs both the local and the digital to be an effective collection for the new mind. Though it is appealing, the concrete megastore cannot be everything to everyone. It is limited in it’s content and does not contain enough local contextualized knowledge. Digital archives can include more content than the megastore, and local libraries often contain localized content. In the digital age, the library must move out into the world, while the library must take the world in (78).
The Librarian and The Digital Archive
I did a quick search to find a tutorial walking researchers through the use of digital archives. I found this video that is an introduction to searching Alaska’s digital archives. What struck me about the video is that at first the librarian seems to be primarily a tour guide giving an overview of the landscape of the database. I did a quick search to find a tutorial walking researchers through the use of digital archives. I found this video that is an introduction to searching Alaska’s digital archives. What struck me about the video is that at first the librarian seems to be primarily a tour guide giving an overview of the landscape of the database. That’s a nice human touch, but what else is the librarian doing here? Librarians had to compile this data, and in so doing, the decided what was important to include in a database containing artifacts from Alaskan history. In so doing, the librarian decides who Alaskans are and what Alaska is. Omissions from the database reveal something about the librarian and his or her values and understanding of Alaska. When do omissions become omissions? Joyce suggests that “our mistaking tells us something of who we are and who others expect us to be” (73). I gather from this that an omission becomes an omission when it is identified as such by a user.
Fifth Chapter: “Beyond Next Before You Once Again: Repossessing and Renewing Electronic Culture”
The fifth chapter of the text focuses on the nature of digital writing and intertextuality. The text is a very literary exercise in intersexuality that incorporates a number of voices reflecting on the nature of digital text. The central themes seems to be the conflict between those who privilege the printed text and those who believe the digital text to be part of our mental evolution and passing into the future of human knowledge and community. Joyce suggests that what digital text offers us is intertexuality, and therefore a networked learning that brings about othermindedness (83), harkening back to that new mind brought about by the caesura that Joyce mentions in the fourth chapter. Invoking the body an natural elements like wood, air, water, and light, Joyce weaves a text that celebrates intertexulity. He explains that those who privilege printed paper texts distrust community and the future, and even the eye, and claim that hypertext is not natural. By invoking natural elements to explore the weaving in of of hyertext, and the creation of communities, Joyce crafts a very effective counter-argument against the idea that hypertext is the opposite of natural. In fact, the chapter seem to suggest that hypertext may be even more natural that an unevolving printed text.
Question: Why does the digital archive or collection need the human element of the librarian? What does the librarian bring that the digital collection cannot do without?
I was fascinated by the idea that the library or archive needs the complementary node of the librarian in the archival network. Joyce says that, “The mind of the electronic age must move out into the world,” and that “The new librarian, the sacred reader, takes the world into a real place that is neither a mythic universal library, nor, for that matter, merely a digital one” (78). Reflecting back on Spinuzzi’s theory of genre tracing, it seems that perhaps what the librarian can bring to the collection is a user-centered focus and understanding; however, recognizing the ways in which user-centered often ignores the need of the user, I started thinking about whether the collection-librarian-researcher dynamic is truly user-centered or whether the user attempts to be a hero. It seems to me, though, that the librarian, as Joyce describes, is a helper in a search rather than one who knows the answers. This is made evident when Joyce suggests that there are no answers to librarians questions about the archive except for “the successive choices, the errors and losses, of our own human community” (72). The focus on error and wander stands in stark contrast to user-centered design’s heroic self-imaging. The recognition that “meanings are not so much published as placed, continually embodied in human community” (75) suggests that the network of knowledge-archive-archivist-researcher cannot operate without any of the network nodes, particularly the researcher, who is the member who interprets the meaning of the collection and ultimately decided the success of error of the search. When is an omission an omission? It seems that Joyce would say that an omission becomes an omission when an expectation of the included item is revealed by the user of the archive. Joyce says, “our mistaking tells us something of who we are and who others expect us to be” (73).
Joyce, Michael. “Hypertext and Hypermedia.”
Of Two Minds : Hypertext Pedagogy And Poetics. n.p.: Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c1995., 1995. Old Dominion University’s Catalog. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
This text is a very helpful overview of the nature of hypertext and hypermedia, the history of the definitions and the history of visions of hypertexts, an overview of controversies with hypertexts, and the current uses and the future of hypertext.Joyce says that hypertext operates as a series of nodes and links with nodes that contain content (such as text and sound) and links that connect the nodes (19). Joyce says that hypertext blurs the line between reader and writer, as the decisions that the writer makes shapes the form of the text.In this way, it seems that the reader has much more agency in the creation of meaning in the hypertext. The reader can access content in any order. Hypertext has been conceived as the human mind operating by association, as augmentation to the human mind, as interwingled “docuverse,” and as way to write the mind (22-23). Joyce also described the various ways that hypertexts has been envisioned by technological pioneers. Joyce also traces controversies in hypertext and the future of hypertext.
Johnson-Eilola, Johndan. Nostalgic angels: Rearticulating hypertext writing. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997.
First Chapter: Border Times
In the first chapter of Nostalgic angels, Johnson-Eilola explores the way in which the borders of writing are challenged by hypertext. Jonshon-Eilola explains that composition has framed some types of hypertexts as being out of bounds, but are in fact constructed in the context of social situations and may be capable of bringing about social change (6). If we ignore types of hypertexts or place them in hierarchies, and we do not recognize hypertext tools as types of text, Johnson-Eilola warns, composition may become further marginalized. To understand and accept texts not traditionally accepted as the type of writing composition is concerned with requires a broadening of the concept of composition (7). Johnson-Eilola described hypertext as social technology that constructs hypertext through invisible means (7). Johnson-Eilola explains that experimental fiction hypertext and in online documentation are similar in their foundations, but they differ greatly in potentials, epistemological, and uses (12). Jonhson-Eilola says that hypertext makes us like “angles with no wings who cannot find heaven and who get dizzy from walking (13). To understand the borders and the ways in which they discriminate against one another, Jonson-Eilola says we should consider them “both real and contingent” (16). Jonson-Eilola points put that the reader is vital in the construction of the meaning of the text (16), and that texts are products of political structures and activities and are not neutral (17). Jonson-Eilola says that understanding writing “as a complex activity involving not only writers but also readers, texts, societies, politics, economies, and technologies” involves “Exploring-and constructing-relations between these elements” (18).
Fifth Chapter: X-Ray Vision and Perpetual Motion
This chapter examines hypertext through the lenses of postmodernism and deconstruction. Jonhson-Eilola says that hypertext accumulates in time and space and can cause contradictory positions to “collapse into each other,” creating a “forum for diseent and criticism” (137). He contrasts narration to hypertext and says that hypertext makes writing and reading “less clearly distinct, less polarized” (137). In the chapter, Jonson-Eilola uses geometry and geography as ways to explore postmodern space. He aligns geometry with place and with current-traditional, product-oriented pedagogy, and he aligns space with geography. He claims that mapping of texts is necessary. The chapter focuses on describing concepts central to an understanding of space and subject of hypertext: the blurring between reader and writer and the decentering of the subject. Jonson-Eilola says that the “dispersion of subject and text” allows “students to find voices (multiple) and participate in discussions of value” (148).
Chapter 6: Angels in Rehab
The sixth chapter of the text focuses on the way in which students and instructors of composition can begin to socialize discourse. Johnson-Eilola focuses on pedagogical issues, including helping students map local against global, work collaboratively around a socila or political goal to “examine, decontruct, and reconstruct relationships of authority and power.”
Xanadau Space: Is Hypertext in 3-D all It’s Cracked up to be?
In this video, Ted Nelson discusses Xanadau space, a hyperttext program that he claims escapes the paper-like qualities that most hypertext documents attempt to replicate. One aspect of the program is that documents that connects to the document being examined “sworph” (swoop + morph) into place. He claims that the program allows endless overlap and overlap and intertextuality. The program is capable of containing and any mix of audio, video, and text and allows for side-by-side comparison of the text containing information from another source to the origin source. He calls this “literature as it should always have been” and says that “anything less is a compromise”. He says that we could have movies that “branch and branch and branch forever”. I was skeptical, I admit, because I wasn’t certain that the technology takes into account the reader as writer, but at the very end of the video, he says that the technology is “representing each user as a simultaneous reader and writer, which is what we really are”. But does the program do this more effectively than more traditional versions of hypertext? It allows for marginal notation, which is something we can do with printed text, but actually writing on hypertext media is not allowed by many programs. (Though I would say that some programs like Zotero that allow for note-taking in a bibliographical entry that contains an uploaded pdf allows for some writing, it seems that in Xanadu Space one can actually create a text that can be placed side by side with another text and linked to that text.) The connections made on the pages seem very geometrical in nature.
Latour, Bruno. Reassembling The Social : An Introduction To Actor-Network-Theory / Bruno Latour. n.p.: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2007., 2007. Old Dominion University’s Catalog. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
Since I will respond fully to Latour next week, I decided to start compiling a list of terms this week.
social – “a type of connection between things that are not themselves social” (5).
tracing of associations – a new way to define sociology that views the social as not “a thing among other things” (5), but as “a type of connection between things that are not themselves social” (5)
critical sociology – doesn’t limit itself to the social but replaces object by another matter made of social relations; substitution is unbearable for social actors needing to believe there is more than social; considers that actors’ objections to their social explanations offer proof that explanations are correct (9).
intermediary – transports meaning or force without transformation (39).
mediators – transform, translate, distort, and modify meaning (39).