About This Project
In this node, I discuss how I came to this project,
and where I intend to go with it. These comments have no part in the formal
Creative Component. But on the Web, because we are dealing with hypertext,
I can put these comments in for those interested without worry of detracting
from the all-important argument I put forth in the formal thesis.
I provide plenty of opportunity to stray from the argument both wide and
deep. I want to encourage connections. I want this work to be a part of
the "conversation" about hypertext theory and the World Wide Web.
Lofty aspirations, I know. But that's what I'm hoping for (and believe is
possible on the Web).
The point of this work is not for me to be a "voice of authority,"
but to argue against such an idea. The point of putting this work on the
Web is not to lead you by the hand through my argument, suppressing marginal
information in favor of that which contributes to my argument. I hope to
break the bounds of linearity (though I know that task will be formidable)
and provide a work whose center moves with your whim. If I'm successful
in creating this work, I will give up a great deal of control and even potentially
link you to interesting information from which you might never return to
this work. That's the risk I take, and that's the pleasure in reading a
document like this one.
Though producing hypertext takes away a great deal of control from the authorial
standpoint, it also allows for a far greater degree of freedom than is available with traditional linear printed texts. Hypertext allows me to go off on
tangents which you can follow or not follow as you please. I can pursue
arguments that may not be germane to the current subject matter, but have
connections I wish to pursue. I have the freedom to explore that connection
as I please. And I can do so without interrupting myself or you. You can
pass right over that colored text without a second thought as to what's
behind it if you choose. But I have still said my piece--even if I'm the
only one who knows about it. I will go into much greater detail on most of the issues in the actual thesis. This is just a hint of what's to come.
How This Project Came About
The evolution of this project has not been stunning. To me, it seems to
have progressed as both technology and my awareness of it have advanced.
It has also been influenced by my exposure to Postmodern theory.
Originally, I began pursuing research on visual design for online documents.
Not even necessarily hypertext, but simply documents intended for online
use in simple terms. The conclusion I came to, in spite of all the hype
surrounding the difference between print and online documents, is that many
of the elements of visual design theory held true for both print
and online documents. At some point I will post the paper I wrote outlining
this idea. At the time I started that research, I had never heard of the
World Wide Web (it was very much in its infancy in the Fall of 1993) and
had only a nodding familiarity with hypertext.
A short time later, I got my first Internet connection at home and began
an internship with CE Software --where
I subsequently became employed full time as a Technical Writer--who develops, among other things, electronic messaging software. My exposure to technology was, therefore, greatly enhanced. During that internship period, I learned of SGML. Having previously been interested in online design and documentation and seeing that SGML provided a means of getting around the problem of online documents being software/platform specific, I began looking at the possibilities for design related issues within SGML documents. It wasn't long after that exposure to SGML that I discovered HTML.
I remained interested in design related issues, but now on the Web. I believe,
in spite of the limitations of HTML for design, there is still a great deal
of room for discussion of design on the Web. However, as I began to do more
research on this specific type of online document, hypertext, I became fascinated
with hypertext theory. At the same time, I was also introduced formally
to Postmodern theory. It didn't take long to see that the two worked beautifully
And this is where I am today. The Creative Component has been drafted right here on
the Web, each and every version subject to the scrutiny of anybody who visits
these pages. The thought of this project has been at the same time exhilarating