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Sunday, April 23, 2006
 
Manual for authors - draft for comment ::

One of the writing projects I'm working on at present is a Manual for Authors for the Hypertext Bible Commentary series. At present it is in (what Paul my Principal calls) very drafty form. But I will take a leaf out of Robert Frenay's book (or at least RSS feed) and put the draft in installments here for comment. Here's the first section:

Writing for Hypertext Bible Commentary

0. Introduction

Hypertext is a collection of smaller textual units (lexia) which can be thought of as separate files. Lexia are joined by hyperlinks. This encourages readers to follow different paths through the material. Thus usually any particular lexia may be reached by more than one (often many different) routes. Therefore each lexia must either be able to stand alone, or must contain links to the material that enables readers to understand it.

This difference poses some problems of adjustment to scholars operating with a codex (or even scroll)[1] as their mental “map” of the nature of text. Instead it is helpful to remember that each lexia stands alone, yet at the same time works collaboratively with others (see “Thinking links”).

This is inconvenient for a document - like a monograph[2] or this manual - that seeks to lead the reader to particular conclusions or results. By contrast it is most convenient if the aim is to equip the reader, e.g. in a commentary that seeks to equip its readers to read the original text for themselves.

This manual will begin with a section on the practicalities of how material for a commentary in the series is organised (section 1), include some background on how text and hypertext differ and some consequent suggestions about rhetoric and style (section 2), before dealing with the technical details of “how to” prepare material for publication in the HBC_ (section 3).



[1] As I discovered when I began the Amos prototype, and found that the ease with which onscreen text can be scrolled tempted me initially to write long documents with many internal links! Some traces of this phase of writing Amos can still be detected in the published Amos: Hypertext Bible Commentary. E.g. Tim Bulkeley, “GENRE: Kinds of Literature”, Amos: Hypertext Bible Commentary, Auckland: Hypertext Bible, 2005.

[2] See Tim Bulkeley, "Form, Medium and Function: The Rhetorics and Poetics of Text and Hypertext in Humanities Publishing", International Journal of the Book 1, 2003, 317-327



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