Jakob Nielsen on hypertext in 1987

I’m reading old documents to prepare a first sketch of a paper I’m writing on early (pre-2000) electronic literature communities. I was intrigued to find Jakob Nielsen’s trip report from the very first ACM Hypertext conference held in 1987.

By now, the real difference between Nelson and most other hypertext proponents is that he still argues for the universal hypertext which is to contain all literature in the world with interlinked references. To do this, he has invented an addressing scheme called tumblers which has the potential to give an unique address to every byte in all documents in the world. Of course such an open, universal hypertext system should expect to accumulate 100 Mbytes of info every hour and this may seem unrealistic at the present moment. But Nelson reminded us that it had also seemed unrealistic to have several 100 millions of telephones all over the world, all able to call each other.

Nielsen’s focus is on technical and not unsurprisingly, usability aspects of hypertext, but he also has a summary of the discussions about hypertext in the humanities, and a short mention of Jay Bolter and Michael Joyce’s presentation of Storyspace, the hypertext authoring tool that became the primary tool for hypertext fiction until the web. (Read the full paper in the ACM digital library: Hypertext and Creative Writing)

Another talk on the use of hypertext in the humanities was by Jay Bolter from the University of North Carolina on the Storyspace system. It is implemented on the Macintosh and is intended as a vehicle for creative writing of interactive fiction. Interactive fiction has existed for some time in the form of adventure games, even the simples of which can be viewed as a hypertext structure as the computer presents a different text as the result of reader/player action. Other movements have also tried to break down the traditional structure of text, e.g. the DADAists.

Mind you, Stuart Moulthrop talks about how he and his friends and collaborators stressed that hypertext is not a game, and that they distanced themselves from interactive fiction in those early days. That all changed in the 90s.

I’m going be delving deeper into early hypertext fiction history for a paper I’m writing for the ELMCIP project. We’re researching how creative communities develop, using the communities of electronic literature as our main object of study. At this point, I think that the early community revolved largely around the technology, and in particular around Storyspace. With the web, that community was somewhat dispersed as technology opened up and many alternative ways of writing, disseminating and accessing electronic literature appeared. Stuart Moulthrop’s trip report from Hypertext 1996 gives some idea of the dual excitement and suspicion with which hypertext veterans viewed the web.

Amazon en avance, le reste du marché à la traîne

Les différents acteurs de l’édition numérique aux Etats-Unis se sont lancés depuis plus d’un an dans une course au catalogue le plus riche. A grand renfort de livres gratuits et de partenariats avec Google, Barnes&Noble, Sony et Apple noie le maigre contenu sous droits dans une masse de grands classiques. Mais que se passe-t-il lorsque l’on veut lire une sortie récente? Le mieux reste d’aller faire un tour chez Amazon dont le catalogue est toujours le plus important. Et de loin !

Le site Labnol.org s’est penché sur la question est nous livre ce graphique étonnant.

Amazon dispose bien du catalogue le plus important, laisse derrière elle le reste de la concurrence. La “machine à lire” d’Amazon est d’une mécanique redoutable. Le Kindle reste le reader le plus diffusé aux Etats-Unis (et au monde) et avec une communauté de lecteurs très active. Les achats d’ebook sont très réguliers et les éditeurs y retrouvent plus facilement leur compte que sur les plateformes mineures de Sony ou encore d’Apple. Proposer son catalogue sur le store de Sony ou d’Apple ne fournit pas la même mise en avant que sur le Kindle Store, ni les mêmes débouchés. Une fois ce constat fait, le choix n’est pas difficile à faire.

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Inauguration du site de Droit et cultures – Revues.org

« réée en 1981 et publiée par L’Harmattan, Droit et Cultures est une revue interdisciplinaire dont la réflexion est centrée sur les phénomènes juridiques. L’idée de droit, des droits, du droit n’a de sens qu’en référence à un système de valeurs, de normes et de cultures qui révèlent des formes dynamiques d’agencement social ou sociétal. Les cultures, les organisations sociales et politiques, les ordonnancements juridiques, dans leur diversité, invitent à repenser les modèles, catégories et classifications. Le défi de Droit et Cultures est de s’affranchir de la réduction du phénomène juridique à une version unique et de promouvoir une lecture plurielle des faits culturels ; il implique d’appréhender les représentations, les discours et les pratiques des acteurs. »

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Common WordPress Multisite Problems and Solutions « Weblog Tools Collection

When WordPress 3 launched on June 17th of 2010, the ability to run a multisite network from a single installation quickly became one of the most talked about features. Formerly known as WordPress MU, this entirely separate WordPress project was simultaneously upgraded and merged with the main WordPress branch. Many were expecting WordPress Multisite to carry with it the usual WordPress simplicity, but there’s quite a bit more to do after WordPress’ famous 5-minute installation when creating a multisite network, and the complexities of the network system have led to some confusion and questions along the way.