The design note post below is really about the notion of modularity and connections in new media. A sequence is, of course, a kind of module where A may lead to B or to A.2 if A and B are cogent enough. At Spinning, Susan Gibb is weaving in a circle of modular elements (I’m using modular here to make a point about connections: can’t have a module as a thing to itself), ranging from current pubs to Boethius, as new as anything else to a reader unfamiliar with Theodoric and the Ostrogoths. I persist in the idea that age is illusion in the practical and everyday. This post could turn into one about reading. Reading is also on my mind since at Sixnut we’ll be talking a lot about it over the coming years. At Spinning, there’s a connection between Boethius and Tom Bisell.
Reading as connection, often having nothing to do with books and sentences, but with links, sauces, and dust bunnies.
You’ve rekindled a thought with this post (ain’t that grand?) about the connections of the modules in more ways than categories alone now allow. While the posts are both separated (yet connected within) by title (Literature, Writing, Nonfiction, etc.) they are also connected by archive date. What I’ve come across recently in trying to hunt down an old post was that these two modules (containing more modules of the postings themselves) are not always efficient. For example, a subcategory or module named “Consolation of Philosophy” or “Marquez” perhaps could be useful. And then too, not a subcategory, but an easy way of producing an immediate link when there is either a direct relation or an indirect relation: Marquez to all the Marquez postings, Aristotle wherever mentioned, etc. A search ability may lead to access, but it doesn’t really connect the modules, does it?
And this has raised more thinking. As you can see in some of the reorganization here, at least with link tags, I’m struggling with other ways of organizing–an expression of a concept of reading organization. The categories are a great difficulty, since they represent a “putting something it belongs.” Solution and problem.
You’ve already seen how MCafe comes at this issue: with a tag cloud. If you go here, you’ll see that the bbpress forum uses tags as another means of providing links and lists. It’s a category list but points not to posts but to a list of forum topics.
This will be a major issue in the WordPress/Courseware project, given that faculty and students may want lots of ways of organizing what their interested in.
So, let’s say you do add a Boethius link. Would you link this to posts on Boethius, but also to connections to Aristotle?
Man, I took a gander at the bbpress forum and you guys are so far ahead of me I’m dropping out of this conversation because there’s nothing I can help you with.
Just to avoid being rude, I’ll answer you last question: Ideally, I would like to be able to type a post in my usual manner, as I think, and when I type in “Boethius” it would automatically link to a module that perhaps revealed a listing of all other Boethius links, since one particular place may not be where I want the link to go. Certain words, when first used, would be keyed in as a module holder? I’m not making sense. Proceed without me and you’ll do much better.
Like multiple posts linked to a common tag, right?
Yes, I suppose. Almost like when you google a word and get multiple results, with brief explanation (perhaps this would be done in the title of the post alone, as I tend to do with some of mine: Lit: 100 Years – Alliteration) that would be some form of cross referencing and path.
Isn’t this also a multiple category issue?
No, it is more defined than that. For example, in a 1/12 post on symbols, I mentioned an eagle and a comment was left to the effect that an eagle wouldn’t drop his prey. I remembered the post I made a while ago about the fish I found in front of the shop, obviously dropped by the eagle, and could only seek it out by category, (Reality, Stories) or by guessing the date (June, July, etc., 2004, 2005?). It was a case of scanning each post through these loaded categories (remember, I have over 2500 postings) and I never did find it. A word link to “eagle” perhaps (this isn’t the best example, for how many times would this need be referenced) would have automatically brought up that post via a module that might have shown four or five references to “eagle”. Those paths would then be available to explore.
There is the ability in Typepad to create new template modules, and I’ve briefly looked into how these might be used.
You may remember that for a new media project I tried to use the weblogs as a group of paths to present the narrative and images of Little Red Capp, and found the format did not allow for backlinking that would have continued the chain. In other words, you couldn’t follow a path and then return to a certain point in the story to follow out another. Powerpoint did manage the format of paths much better.