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Re: [ba-ohs-talk] new version of graph model paper posted

On Wednesday, April 17, 2002, at 01:35 AM, Alex Shapiro wrote:    (01)

> Not even a 2-D projection.  Written text is really a 1-Dimensional 
> construction.  As I've written before, http://qwer.org/tglt.html , the 
> experience of reading a document would not be much compromised if one 
> had read the same information on a ticker tape.  (And a ticker tape is 
> 1D)    (02)

Hmm, interesting post at that URL, Alex. Of course "document" is an 
abstraction with perhaps less and less relation to the previously more 
common experience of...
- holding in your hand a piece of paper;  with a certain texture, 
resiliency, smell, apparent age;
- with maybe having a book of such pages, stacked in a 3rd dimension 
which you can reference via little tangibles such as pieces of cloth, 
paper, colored edges, etc;
- feeling the softer and darker paper where it's been thumbed a lot;
- the weight of the cover, its indentations and metallic gold letters;
- resting in the space of the page, with margins, blocks of text, 
perhaps florid initial chapter headings, illuminations, written comments 
and underlines.    (03)

... Now _that_ was multidimensional and immersive!  :-)    (04)

That's a rich and satisfying experience, which as you say can / should 
be recreated by nodifying paragraphs and edge-ifying references 
(labeling links between nodes, if I understand you correctly), and then 
making that visually tangible.    (05)

> The fist step of this is hypertext, and news forums like slashdot. You 
> begin to see a tree like structure evolve that needs to be navigated by 
> a user.
> Simultaneously, the concept of micropublishing is taking form, where 
> published output is being reduced from a magazine essay to a post.    (06)

Here what you're talking about is I think the interface and use cases 
more than the internal representation, which itself is on some key 
levels serial, or serialized. The nodes and arcs level is intermediate - 
it could, however, be felt (a node identifying a topic we are trying to 
clarify...) The 1-D ultimately comes from the "sequence of bits" 
underlay of how we represent computers in terms of their implementation, 
and extends to serializations of all kinds.  But no one would want to 
read a book or even a page in that kind of ticker-tape style.  So we get 
2-D layout on our screens and on printed paper.    (07)

But I think your (our) goal really is to have a rich, tangible, 
productive experience in abiding and working in an information space - 
with felt qualities. Feeling those nodes and their importance to us. 
Beyond that is how to enable ad-hoc creation of such spaces that are 
livable and inhabitable, by me and by my karass.    (08)

I've been experimenting with Tinderbox, and it does enable some of this. 
One of the views (1 of 7) it provides is a "Map View", where you can 
drop "Notes" (nodes, though not necessarily published (= having URI)), 
arrange them, and make named links between them, as well as drop notes 
into containing notes. The map view gives you icons in your own 
arrangement, with space around them. It's very satisfying. Multiple such 
views make it feel dimensional, with even more space and depth.    (09)

The literal space in the Map View window (ie, the space before there is 
any note, and around any notes, and around all the views for that 
matter) is as important a part of the experience as are the notes and 
icons themselves. Ie, "whitespace" is very significant in the lived 
visual representation. It evokes and is imbued with sensory/kinesthetic 
co-responsiveness... like muscular memory of that blue thing over there 
top right back. It creates an open space of possibilities, and of felt 
presences.    (010)

> When reading, one slowly builds up in ones mind a picture of what the 
> writer is trying to communicate, while holding in memory the content of 
> the whole document that came before.    (011)

That "picture" seems to be a kind of symbolic precis of the whole. Ditto 
for writing, which is even more explicitly done in call-by-future style. 
This guides your understanding of new parts, and of old parts. When 
educated by reading, you are led to new insights: previously held pieces 
are bound together into a new story (whole). There is change in 
understanding of the story, but also change in yourself - you have a 
different way of further seeing. The "word on the street", on the story 
and on you, gets built up.  (It's interesting that "logos" ("word" in 
ancient Greek) comes from "legein", to bind).    (012)

In a way this sketches out for me a path from some levels of abstraction 
(such as the hyperdocument graph model) through representations and use 
cases (from "intermediary file format" to visible nodes, labelled 
relationship arcs, purple publishable nodes, subscribing nodes) to 
OHS-style user interface for building up shared understandings.    (013)

Mark    (014)