Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 166.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
 From: Adrian Miles <email@example.com> (17)
Subject: Re: 15.161 annotation
 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Francois Lachance) (75)
Subject: Re: 15.163 annotation & lights
 From: "Norman D. Hinton" <email@example.com> (8)
Subject: Re: 15.163 annotation
Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2001 08:08:04 +0100
From: Adrian Miles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 15.161 annotation
At 8:09 +0100 4/8/01, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
>But to return to the notes out of which footnotes are made, or not. One of
>my favourite devices still is the 3x5 card, whose ease and flexibility of
>multiple rearrangement simply isn't to be matched in the electronic
>environment. If only one could have something like Powerpoint for
>note-taking that would produce 3x5 slips on one's printer. Note-taking
>software really should have the option to produce slips.
On the subject of note taking software I'd recommend those interested to
keep an eye on http://www.eastgate.com/Development
apart from the note taking and publishing tool being developed there is an
ongoing discussion there about note taking and information structures that
is relevant and rewarding.
lecturer in new media and cinema studies + media studies. rmit [http://hypertext.rmit.edu.au] + institutt for medievitenskap. university of bergen [http://media.uib.no]
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2001 08:09:29 +0100 From: email@example.com (Francois Lachance) Subject: Re: 15.163 annotation & lights
Just one point to add to Jamel Ostwald's inaugural posting.
> I was never raised on notecards (although I did do 3 years of high > school debate with notecards, when I could never find exactly what I > needed),
I think it is worth adding an element of time: note finding with the desired speed is different from not finding at all. As well, it is the very nature of shuffling a subset of a larger set that helps the memonomic process. And I added repeated shuffling. The notecards do not have to be on paper. They do have to be reread. The database can have records marked so that such a "shuffling deck" can be produced.
I think the metaphors of Nets and Webs might be worth mixing. One has as one's disposal a number of "nets" be they lists, tables or clusters -- one's labour has built these cognitive devices and one's investment may or may not be leverage with repeated use. One casts one's net over the Web to fish.... and one's net includes one's collegial relations. It seems to me that what Jamel is describing in terms of look up tables is analogically equivalent to a fishing net and the database as a whole corresponds to the sea of webbedness. What is lovely here is the recursiveness, in that, look up tables belong to the set of links at ecologically at play in the sea of webbedness or the bay of a database.
I'm intrigued as to how my formulation "And the best scholars can carry on when the lights go out..." got glossed as a comment on the use of paper-based products:
> As for the paper-wielding scholar's advantage when the lights out,
especially given the subject line of the posting "Electro-shredding". I would hope that the place of the destruction or obscured access would play a role in the discussion. Yes, you pointed to Auerbach in Istanbul in the 40s. Is this so much the exception as the exemplification? If humanities work is like gardening, there is a fair bit of composting. (Of course the system viewpoint in this narratological nugget can be shifted from that of head gardener to lowly earthworm.) Is it worthwhile to consider "digital decay" experiments on replicated databases? Have we seen more of the results of Jerome McGann's forays into deformations of the pictorial sort? And of course the multimedia strain in humanities computing would suggest that the performative dimension of electronic artefacts approaches an annotations whether for self or other as a pointing device that orients both the object of study and the apparatus for studying that object. And when the lights do go out and the notecards are shredded, we still have each other.
I am wondering if others could comment on Patrik Svensson's contribution to this discussion. It seems to catch the light and dark of metaphors related to gems and mining.
Of course, some tingling note strikes and an electronic impulse leads me to believe that the metaphors can be mapped onto Eric S. Raymond's distinction between cathedral and bazar
gardening : bazar :: mining : cathedral
mining : bazar :: gardening : cathedral
All this to say that the nature of note taking and the software developed to facilitate (frustrate) note taking can be read as conveying presuppositions about the scholarly activity -- its relation to temporality and its relation to the modes of distribution of its products. Can the work be handed off at any point in the cycle?
Is note taking preparation for a dialogue or is it a contribution to a dialogue? The question in my universe is moot. Even the most mysterious of notes can provide grist for the mill (ah the millstone from the quary and the grain from the field!).
By the way, in your survey, what did the non-note takers do with what they read, saw, heard, touched? Were they re-readers able in their imagination to peruse their readings and extract interesting bits to trigger those flashes in the dark?
In summary: 1) the role of accumulation-destruction (recuperable or not) in our computing experiments 2) the role of the metaphors for the production and distribution activities in which we are engaged 3) the connection (or not) between 1 and 3
Looks a bit like a synthesis exam for a (post)graduate program in humanities computing.
As ever celebrating and scrambling General Systems Theory,
Now where did I put my notes to Ludwig Von Bertalanffy's book?
-- Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance/ivt.htm per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2001 08:12:17 +0100 From: "Norman D. Hinton" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: 15.163 annotation
I rarely take notes in the "field" (the library). Ever since Xeroxes became common I have, preferred to make a copy of the original rather than take chances of haplography , reversing numbers, etc. etc ... to say nothing of getting home and wishing I had transcribed more text.
I don't own a laptop, because they are so damn expensive, but even if I had one, I think I would still prefer Xeroxing to typing. I have a friend who brings a digital camera to the library and photographs the page, then downloads it when he is home...I use my scanner if I don't just keep the Xerox.
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