From: simon@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Julean A. Simon)
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 21:40:52 +0100
>at it this way: you want to avoid passive information "retrieval". ok.
well, we try to "avoid" information retrieval to be the dominant or
exclusive task in the conceptualization of this HT-sys. that is not to say
that it has to be avoided as such - it has a certain function; the question
is how to balance it with other functions of a working environment, that
also may be desirable.
when you say passive you characterize the participation of a user. but the
process of information retrieval (listening, watching, reading, getting
something from the library, ftp-ing) may also be characterized as active,
selective,...especially seen from a constructivist perspective.
>(quick note: Deleuze too seemed to oppose this type of information. In his
>"Qu'est-ce que l'acte de creation?" he talks about "the news" where we are
>supposed to act as if we believe the information presented to us on
>television - not even to believe it, just act like we believe it.)... So,
>information-retrieval is out.
guess, for commercial "content providers", e.g., its in, because it fits
the profile of traditional and successful product-logistics.
>At which point you turn to context ("we see the priority in the generation
>and differentiation - not of information, but - of contexts..."). Well, if
>you look at my post, this was the major point I was getting at. How is it
>that context creates at every moment in a reading a certain "dynamic" that
>is not limited to a single point of view, to an information as "BELIEVE
>THIS"? How is it that context creates a point of view?....
obviously the interaction with a text - or more general the interaction of
a percptive system with the sensedata it generates, the interaction of a
cognitive system with its own states - the interaction in time signifies a
context as a dynamical phenomenon. the interactions of participants in a
discourse establish what i think maturana/varela call a "consensual
domain", which i understand as the basic structure for the differentiation
of a context. a single point of view makes sense in the context of a
specific set of more or less defined premises or references and is in many
ways premise for other points of view.
(perhaps i would use the word concept instead of point of view ?)
with "generation and differentiation - not of information, but - of
contexts" i mean: there is more than procssing the sentence "rabin
assassinated" as such, we relate its meaning to some context; though, the
accelerated delivery, the parallelity and quantity, the particular use of
structures to suggest a claim for authority, etc. often do not allow for
the gen&diff of a context, thus, if at all, one takes it as a
>I think the answer the question of context is quite simple, and is
>contained on your typical HTML page: ENTRANCE - EXIT ... What is context on
>the net? It is WHERE you enter, or better said: FROM WHERE you enter a
>page, and where you exit. Not only where you go to when you exit, but where
>on the page do you exit. If you visit an Etruscian wall mural after reading
>a text on Etruscian art, it is not the same thing if you visit the same
>Etruscian wall mural after reading an "introduction to wall mural art"
>page. And yet both links can be just as valid, the problem is, what do you
>do with the user when he gets to the wall mural. Does he go back, move on?
>To what? etc... These are all typical context problems on the internet.
i guess, this is the typical problem, or question to address, of an author
who is given/takes the authority to define and lay out a context in front
of his audience/reader/student. this allows, but also forces the author -if
it would be possible at all!- to control all contextual aspects.
one2many-organization is useful in specific situations, but first of all we
are *used to* it. networks, due to their structure should provide for more
interaction, intervention, interference - in tendency. then the process of
context generation is not a global enterprise but based on local processes,
distributed among participants with diverse approaches, tested on various
hypotheses, misunderstandings have better chance to be solved, it is less
dependent on linear development of threads, feedback loops do their work...
current html-browsers do not really support these processes, email and list
are much more on this line.
>So the question of entrance-exit is both the solution and the problem.
>Because if you want to create a pedagogical atmosphere (and artists too
>need to look at this pedagogy situation because it's essential to all
to my understanding (of art) artists should not look at any pedagogical
>hypertextes) you of course are going to "orient" the user. But this limits
providing users with tools or strategies to orient themselves does not
necessarily imply orienting them.
>his point-of-view, creates a singular context, a singular entrance-exit to
>the information. So you're in a difficult situation: create an open
>pedagogy...? Is it possible?
i understand that in creating a hypertext you are confronted with an
entrance-exit problem, but i dont see entrance and exit as typical or
general features of information or context; perhaps i mis-understand,
>It seems that your project wants to create such a possibility, but I didn't
>quite understand what you propose? What is a Projekt-Methode approach?
i dont know the english terminology: Projekt Methode, germ. is a
pedagogical approach, perhaps originated somewhere around piaget (?), that
opposes Frontalunterricht, frontal-teaching (?) where a teacher in front of
the crowd, following a clear course-outline based on some strategy to
finally reach explicit goals. project method uses group-dynamical methods
to motivate them to work on a subject in a self-responsible way. the
teacher is observing and guiding this open process which does not have a
concrete, preconceived final-goal. in tendency the project-method is one of
the more appealing approaches, since it is a multi-factorial situation i
think its efficiency, consequences, etc. have to be evaluated from case to
>If you will permit me, I myself have been thinking about this problem.
>What if you were to create a semi-autonomous browser? Something that would
>organize the entrances and exits of pages, that in a sense would read the
>pages, and based on certain criteria would decide the relevancy of the page
>for the given subject (to be defined by the user/program/etc) and offer
>links to other pages which would have a similar amount of similar
>information and organize the order of entrances-exits based on frequency or
>proximity with other relevant subjects...?... I'm being somewhat vague, I
>know, but I think the general concept is what is important here and gets
>into the rhizome: a semi-autonomous browser would take the general chaos of
>the net, would try to organize temporary connections between pages based on
>certain criteria. The Rhizome would be the net itself, and the
>semi-autonomous browser would be the building of secondary-level rhizomes,
>or counter-rhizomes.... I.e.: the autoconstruction of links based on
>criteria, or based on a certain number of "concepts operatoires"
>(operational concepts). These operational concepts would be like little
>programs entering into a chaotic situation and seeing what they can make up
>of the chaos....And the operation concept would just be a WAY of organizing
>the information. Giving it a context. The independance of the operational
>concept and/or semi-autonomous browser on one side and the information on
>the other is essential. They must have this autonomy or semi-autonomy.
>Otherwise you're again organizing the user in a restrictive way. But if the
>semi-autonomous browser did not understand the content of what it was
>reading, but merely organizing it around given criteria (operational
>concepts) then you have something interesting.
there are lots of attempts in this direction, e.g. agents. of course we
also thought about that and will have to develop features with similar
technology, for more modest purposes, though (complexity-,
if you search for technical solutions to automatically net information, it
could well be that the outcome is only of technical interest. however, if
you want information to interconnect it makes sense to start at the
generation of information. it reads as if you had forgotten the authors of
the information on the net. why only use the information as such, why not
also use the authors competence in establishing contexts - i know, you are
doing it by participating in this list.
what i mean: its worth to further develop this email/list-business on a
technological, as well as organizational level, and also use ideas like
the current hypertext-applications, especially www, as i see it, have a
tendency towards theme-park, shopping-mall, advertising,
channel-flipping,...well, i use it, sometimes i find something. the links
more or less establish an arbitrary world_wide-context. i am not sure it
would improve, netting it more densley.
>Again, I'm just forging a few quick remarks based on your project
>description. You didn't give us much to go on! If you could explain a
>little further, I could perhaps give you some more comments...
sorry, i didnt want to focus too much on this project, rather follow some
related aspects, as we did sofar and see if there is a connection with D&Gs
rhizome... i would love to continue on this track