This book explores the larger realm of the knowledge infrastructure where texts are received, reconstructed, and sent over global networks.
The sixteen essays collected in The Digital Word continue Landow and Delany's exploration of the new fluid, digitized text begun in Hypermedia and Literary Studies (1991), which focused on the linking of text, graphics, or sound into structures typically bound within a single computer or local-area network. This book explores the larger realm of the knowledge infrastructure where texts are received, reconstructed, and sent over global networks. It covers text management, textual resources and communication, and working with texts.
In their introductory essay, Landow and Delany address the impact of such developments as the dematerialization of text (which exists only as a piece of code) and the manipulability of text-based computing (searches, editing, comparison, and analysis), which shifts the balance of power from text to reader. Digital texts; the law, sources, distribution, and management of texts; and the need for new procedures that will make explorations of the boundless universe of text more effective are touched on as well.
Current examinations of text management include the FreeText Project and personal information retrieval, a taxonomy of text-management software, and markup systems (including a clear, authoritative discussion of Standard Generalized Markup Languages). Essays in the next section take up such disparate aspects of textual resources and communications as corpus-based linguistics, networked library services, personal docuverses for the individual scholar, and the new forms of scholarly communications created by electronic mail and electronic conferencing. A concluding section on working with texts surveys what has been variously called computer criticism, computer-aided criticism, and electronic text analysis in relation to textual editing, literary interpretation, and our practice of reading and writing in an electronic age.