February 12, 2002

Hypertext in web logs

Weblogg-Ed covers classroom weblogs: interlinked online journals maintained by a school or college class. A classroom of webloggers is particularly interesting, as classroom writers know more about their audience than most Web writers: they know their classmates and teachers are reading . They see their immediate audience every day; as Prof. Mortensen recently noted, even having a writer as a houseguest need not break the habit of reading her web journal.

The ancestor of the classroom weblog cluster is, of course, George Landow's monumental work, The Victorian Web. (Eastgate publishes snapshots of parts of this vast hypertext as The Dickens Web and The In Memoriam Web, and the Web version of the whole affair appears at NUS) This vast assemblage connects course readings, term papers, and a growing body of current scholarship in one vast hypertext net, forming a critical community in miniature; school weblogs are, I think, undertaking a closely related task albeit at a more modest scale.

The most interesting aspect of weblog clusters are, as Will Richardson observes, the patterns of connection between writers.

But the thing I love more than anything else with weblogs is the hypertext. That's just something you can't do with paper and pen, and I really think it adds so much to the discussion. Now, as I've complained before, the only problem is keeping track of it all. That's why Mark's Tinderbox technology is so intruiging....