This is a republishing of an article I wrote for the Strange Bedfellows project. The original url is here.
Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.
I recently wondered, “what is TEI used for?” I have known about TEI for about three years but somehow its purpose slipped my mind. (There is a basic introduction to TEI here.) All I could remember was that it took a lot of time. When I looked back at my dissertation (where I had wrote a little about it in relation to the Rossetti Archive), I could not remember much more about it than it was used as a structuring element for the massive amounts of information housed in the Rossetti Archive. After a quick Google search, asking the same question, I came up with an answer.
I have been meaning to write this post for a couple of months now, but I have not sat down long enough to get it done. I recently published an article with Apollon eJournal which I had been working on since the winter of 2010. In fact, my views and critical stance had changed so much that I significantly revised it past fall before publication. I wanted to supplement the article with this post because some of the materials I sent where simply too awkward to be included in the article proper. For one, I wanted to talk about what does not often get discussed with discussions of Docuscope and that is mainly the effect of the text itself upon the evaluative tool Docuscope is. I discussed most of this in my post here but I wanted to add the underlying structure of Docuscope itself.
I just realized that I had a couple of drafts that I did not finish earlier this year. This is from April:
As I was sitting in Heathrow airport, I looked up to see all of the people in front of me focused intently, and some with mouths agape, in a common direction to my left. I glanced over to be struck by the image of a six foot tall rabbit, with a bright yellow costume and little green hat, skipping and shuffling his way past us down the terminal. This could have been an instance of extreme laughter except I didn’t keep looking at the rabbit; instead looked at the others around me. It was interesting that, although a few people returned to their previous actions after the rabbit had gone twenty more feet, most kept staring until the rabbit was completely out of sight. Continue reading
As I was writing up the last post, I had several thoughts flitting through my mind that comprise this rather spontaneous post. First, I have been trying to learn HTML and CSS in hopes of writing a website and I was having a particularly rough time solving how to compensate for horizontal adjustment of the webpage in the browser’s screen. I finally stumbled upon the realization that if I put the entire website in a single compartment, using <div> elements, all of a sudden I was working with one object upon the background of the larger html backdrop instead of a multitude. That realization did not come easily, which is perhaps why it is still on my mind, but I was reminded of it when I was I was thinking about Placcius’s system of note taking. At first it seemed analogous to bytes on a modern hard drive but as I thought more about it, I realized that analogy could not work because of the re-scalability of a hard drive compared to the wooden closet with fixed dimensions. No matter how Placcius tried, he would have never been able to fit more notes in his scrinium than the internal volume of the space would allow. But with a hard drive, the ability to hold information is not dependent upon the physical dimensions of the space so much as it is the components that comprise it and the system that runs it. With this, like in CSS, information is less about the space it takes up and more about the nested elements in and out of it. Continue reading