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Annotated Bibliography 4

Chapter 2: The Computer as a New Writing Space in ‘Writing space: The Computer, Hypertext and the History of Writing’ by Jay David Bolter.


        This chapter is mainly concerned with the new writing space found in computers. It gives a general overview on the differences between writing electronically and in books. ‘The computer as hypertext invites us to write with symbols that have both an intrinsic and extrinsic significance… Both words and structures are visible, writeable, and readable in the electronic space.’ (p16)

        Bolter also talks about writing places. This encapsulates: writing with a word processor (more for print), and outline processors (more for electronic writing). An outline processor sets the traditional written outline in motion. However, although Bolter seeks to locate the differences between the two, he also points out the similarities in that we write topically irrespective of the medium we choose to use; it is the symbolic representation that changes.

        Under electronic trees, Bolter brings out the ability of the computer to generate connections within the various components in the electronic trees through the use of its numerical address. The tree, together with the outline, moulds the visual space of the text in a way that reflects its structure and is unlike the printed page, which is flat and uninteresting. (like that of a word processor window)

        Bolton also goes on to discuss about (1) hypertext and (2) hypermedia. (1)He brings up the point about associative relationships, which allow paths for weaving through a text rather than strict subordination in an electronic text. (2) There is a distinction made here between text on TV and text in the hypermedia.

        Lastly, Bolton writes about the writers and readers of hypertext. This section is rather general. Some points brought up are: how as readers we become our own authors; that the elements of meaning, of structure and of visual display are unstable; the computer does not require that any aspect or writing be determined in advance for the whole life of the book.



This reading is somehow a very general one which speaks rather of the new found use of computers in writing and how there are differences in writing in this new mode and in others, especially with regard to the printed text. How I see this text as relevant would be in the comparisons made between the electronic text and the printed text. However, these will only be useful as background information as it does not address the question directly on the expectations of readers in the different environments. It does however give a glimpse into how the writer can write in the electronic environment.


Annotated Bibliography 1    Annotated Bibliography 2    

Annotated Bibliography 3

Internet Users and Readers of a Printed Text

Writing in the Web Environment