Friday, May 25, 2007
Canada 2007 004
Reading Kate’s blog made me think again about hyperlinking. Many writers, myself included, have commented on the ways in which hypertext allows for a radically new kind of literacy. But does it? Foucault conceives of text in terms of network and links. In The Archaeology of Knowledge, he points out that the "frontiers of a book are never clear-cut," because "it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network . . . [a] network of references" (1989:23). Hyperlinks simultaneously provide deixis, alternative sources, rapid referencing and a kind of electronic footnoting. Hypertext offers readers multiple trajectories through the text and enables a choice in the depth of reading as well as access to other media. Although the reader has more control, more rapid access and is as a result given more authority, these choices are not in themselves new – they are differently presented, at our fingertips, embedded in the text.