[-empyre-] Re: replies to Margie and Drew (geniwate)

hey geni - i've done a couple of html writing projects, and found it to be extremely liberating form of writing... my academic background is in comm studies, with a major emphasis in performance studies... one of the attractions to me of perf studies was the acknowledgement that critical work could be done outside of straight "scholarly" writing and that performance allowed the audience much more of a direct connection and impact on the work (each show is drastically different depending on your audience... if you had an idea, you wrote a script and stage a performance... but a recurring issue was the ephemerality of performance, if you missed the show, a video of it, was 2 steps removed, and a paper summarizing it was even further from the work...

it was from this perspective that i approached hypertext (basically html initially... hypertext seemed to be a more performative mode of writing for both readers and writers... there was more explicitly enabled push and pull between the two... and so i continued to explore how html enabled readers more of an active role in engaging a work... and this is where i began to find certain limits to html and to learn of databases (i was working in the industry with some unbelievably talented database programmers)

i wanted to be able to allow readers as much choice as i could in how they interacted with my dissertation.. for instance, i wanted to be able to let them see an index of the pages or not... and a large part of the limits are my own (i'm pretty good with html, but not a whiz in any programming language really (you can see the results of my dissertation at http://waxebb.com/sib1 - it uses frames to allow for choices i wanted the reader to have (index of not)... and since it's such a huge project, i've left it in frames (although the present version is within a page of php includes and iframes...) but, i did find that i could only enable so much choice for a reader with static html pages..

and i worked on some great projects that required some patent-winning database programming, and i began to see how a hypertextual piece, dynamically served up by a database, could really allow the reader all kinds of choices as to how they engage the piece, in fact, a database could enable readers agency with the piece, shaping it with their active reading (it really does make manifest a post-structural notion of reading)

so i've been designing out the features (and trying to keep current on what else is out there) of an open-source application (php/mysql)... but my knowledge of the possibilities greatly exceeds my meager grasp of php/mysql, so i've been in the search of a php programmer who can dedicate the time to help me implement this app that i hope will enable this type of interactive/collaborative/performative writing/reading...

and so, you mention that this sounds similar to what you're meant to be doing... i'd be happy and curious to share thoughts around this, hear what you're up to, and see if and how we could help each other...

best, drew

Drew said

so i'm currently designing an application to enable a
hypertextual document to be served up from a database
(just looking for a php programmer to help me out with
the implementation of it)

this sounds similar to what I'm meant to be doing], I wish you would say
more about 'the limits of hypertextual writing with html' and what issues
you hope your database will resolve

best, geni

cv and links available at http://hypertext.rmit.edu.au/~jenny


| drew davidson, ph.d. | assistant professor | communications media @ iup
| h) 724.349.4959
| w) 724.357.5967

| mailto:drew@waxebb.com
| mailto:drew@iup.edu | http://www.waxebb.com
| http://www.coe.iup.edu/drew

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