Scribbling on the web

There's a fascinating entry about marginalia online here: Diigo Fiction: Marginalia in the Library of Babel at WRT: Writer Response Theory
The crux of it is a suggested use of Diigo a "social annotation" tool. Basically, once you've created an account you can make annotations on a web page and read them later. Annotations being stored on the Diigo server and attached to a uri I assume. This is social annotation because you can also see any public notes that other Diigo users have made to a web page.
I had tried it but found that it just cluttered my browsing experience for no obvious benefit. However, the writer's suggestion is that if you have a community of users working together they could collaborate to scribble "marginalia" over a set of web pages that could be linked together and, when read together, creates a fiction. I find that quite a fascinating suggestion.
What's that to do with transliteracy? Well, it seems to me that as per many of the issues that seem to be floating to the surface that it suggests a transliteration of one form (marginalia) into web2.0.
Perhaps one first step to understanding what is meant by transliteracy is simply to start with web2.0. What is being transliterated into web2.0? With all the obvious buzz around web2.0 combined with the possibility that web2.0 might not actually mean anything at all then web2.0 can be seen as a culturally contested terrain. Transliteration into web2.0 may therefore reveal interesting ideologies.
So perhaps this is where the Research in PaRT could start. It is not to presume that transliteracy requires web 2.0 but that researching transliteracy in web2.0 is an idea which plays to our strengths.
PS can anyone tell me why a Flickr search for the most interesting photos tagged with research shows me a desktop full of pandas?


3 thoughts on “Scribbling on the web

  1. Thank you for the note, Bruce,
    I can see what you are saying about dealing with the too many social annotations.
    The 2nd beta version of Diigo has added a group feature that may eventually allow sharing annotations with designated others.
    [I hope not to pull your off topic here, but your comments have me thinking…]
    In this project, I’ve been thinking about the ways in which the links that we pursue (annotate and share) reveal this imprint of our movement through the web and can be quite expressive of some of our own searching. That characters might be expressed through their encounters with other texts and subsequent notes, of course, is nothing new, but using this shifting, sliding system of links for that meditation is like trying to trace a design in the mud of a rushing stream. The very pages that have been annotated can change right beneath the annotations. And of course, add to that the possibility of other readers weaving into and out of that fiction, and you have something that can break out of the potential solipsism of this kind of fiction.
    I’m not sure if it’s the medieval sea of commentary but it certainly shares affinities…

  2. I agree entirely; I think the project sounds like a fascinating transliteration.
    I must admit that I was one of those people who when borrowing books from a library as an undergrad preferred the ones that had been scribbled on because they gave me ideas about the text. For that reason I’m really intrigued by services such as Diigo and Trailfire which let you scribble on web sites and, potentially, see the scribbles of others. Making an artistic piece out of it is an intriguing step though it seems to me to be more akin to a performance art on the web because the web will shift and change.

  3. Yes, and how much of art on the web then becomes performance art? How much of all Net activity becomes a performance caught on grainy security cameras.
    This is one of the themes I explore in the piece, referencing Stuart Moultrop’s “Garden of Forking Paths” project which remains as a remnant, as well as the WayBackMachine.
    I’m fascinated by physical library marginalia as well, not to mention desktop doodles and bathroom graffiti.
    Of course, these search engines have ways of turning up even what we thought was lost to the worms of the Net.

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