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Re: <nettime> books and cdroms
Alan Sondheim on 27 Sep 2000 04:59:09 -0000

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Re: <nettime> books and cdroms

There are a couple of other issues in my case. First, there are about 5000
pages of text, among other media, on the cdrom. That's about 20 books.
Here, compactness, of course, has the edge.

Second, what's vastly overlooked - search capabilities. You can search for
anything within or across texts with a minimum amount of software. The
grep tool in unix/linux allows multiple-files access, and any reader at
all allows single-file access. I wanted at one point to find the refer-
ences to Philoctetes in the Iliad or the Odysses - I located the texts at
Guttenberg, and had the relevant passages in seconds. And, given the
cross-referencing in my own work, search capability is valuable.

Third, there is cross-media referencing as well. If the cdrom were just
texts, that would be one thing - but it's texts, graphics, animations,
videos, etc. - all related (at least in my own mind). A cdrom allows a
reader/viewer/listener to jump from one mode to another, fairly seamless-

If this were a question of, say, a book of poetry, I'd agree. But the
cdrom or dvd or whatever has real advantages - one can create, so to
speak, worlds in depth, and allow searching and inhabiting fairly quickly.
There's something exciting about this ability to skitter back and forth
across directories (in my case) or hyperlinks (in other cases), stopping
momentarily when something seems interesting, remaining for a while...

Beyond that, an admittedly minor advantage - one can copy any of the
material off the cdrom, rework it, mail it to someone else, vilify it,
turn it into a screen-saver, etc. In other words, the cdrom is a fixed
node within an information flux - whereas a book can at best be xeroxed.

I personally love reading online at this point - I also use a Phenom
pocket PC which currently has a number of Sutras on it, as well as John
Gay's Beggar's Opera - all free on the Net. I can read this stuff on the
subway, I don't have to waste any paper, and when I'm done, if I want, I
can just delete, delete...


Internet Text at http://www.anu.edu.au/english/internet_txt 
Partial at http://lists.village.virginia.edu/~spoons/internet_txt.html
Trace Projects at http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/writers/sondheim/index.htm
CDROM of collected work 1994-2000/1 available: write sondheim {AT} panix.com

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