Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Internet and Associations

The Observer | Business | John Naughton: Log into the confessional, my son
Interesting article from John Naughton, whose Observer column is always worth a read. I hadn't heard of this peculiarly named Vannavar Bush before, but he seems to have had some far-sighted ideas. The idea of association was, of course, very much part of the modernists' armoury in novels such as Joyce's Ulysses. In fact, Molly Bloom's soliloquy at the end of the novel is nothing more than an extended exercise in associative thinking. Yes and yes...

10 comments:

Nogbad said...

Too late Rob - T171 dealt with Bush and I can heartily recommend Naughtons "Brief History of the Future" which is an excellent read on the whole subject of how we got from Bush to Berners-Lee and beyond.

Thanks for flagging that article - great find.

N

Rob Spence said...

T171? Eh? What's that then?

Nogbad said...

First level Tech course currently going through its final presentation. Entirely online (none of these pesky face to face sessions) and 60,000 students since 2000. Naughton's book was a set book for later presentations.

Rob Spence said...

Of course - sorry, I didn't get the reference. Still not used to OU acronyms and shorthand.

Nogbad said...

Lol! Great after the discussion of "in jokes" and inclusive and exclusive language :-)

To add to the Bush discussion - John Naughton's blog is called Memex which is what Bush called his theoretical machine to link ideas.

You've missed T171 and T175 won't cover the same ground - T171 was about (in part) the history of the Internet as well as the history of the PC. Fascinating stuff.

I don't know if you are aware of this but as an AL you can study (most) OU courses for nowt!

Rob Spence said...

"I don't know if you are aware of this but as an AL you can study (most) OU courses for nowt!" Yep, I knew that, but I'm just about keeping my head above water with a full time job, AL duties and research. Oh, and a life...
that would be nice! No, I don't fancy being a student again at my advanced age.

Nogbad said...

You make the reference to Molly Bloom, In "Brief History" Naughton compares email to Virgina Woolf's letter writing; quick, chain of conciousness, sometimes poorly constructed, etc. A reasearch paper on eLiterature maybe? :-)

Rob Spence said...

You might be on to something there - there is an emerging literature on texts and hypertexts, started by a guyv called George Landow. Joyceans are very keen on this kind of stuff because Joyce's texts are so rich. The Brazen Head at http://www.themodernword.com/joyce/
is a good example.

Nogbad said...

Thanks for the link. That site demonstrates the ways that hypertext can be used to create non-linear but still coherent discourse, probably closer to the way we think than the "tyranny" of the printed word - okay I'm using tyranny as an exaggeration but I like the idea of allowing the reader to create their own paths and that site shows how it can be done - I just wish I'd made it through Joyce, I'm afraid it didn't work for me :-)

Rob Spence said...

JJ is worth persevering with - and of course was Burgess's all time literary hero. Certainly, JJ would have agreed about the tyranny of the printed word. I have a feeling he's have loved hypertext.