Syllabus for CS 6212. Studies in Hypertext and New Media

Professor Landow (office: SoC1 5-17; e-mail: or; office hours: 1.00-2:20, Tuesday and Thursday. Class (Thursday, 4-6 PM) and lab (Wednesday, 2-3 PM) both meet the USP Cyberarts Studio on the fifth floor of Old Admin (next to the central library). [class photo]

Note 1: You can get me Zip cartridges, which I'll load for you with various unpublished Storyspace readings. As a practical matter, everyone should obtain their own Zip cartridge to submit their larger projects.

Note 2: Check this on-line reading list at the beginning of each week since assignments may change or be reordered.

Classweb: Cyberspace, Hypertext and Critical Theory

Week 1 Thursday 1 August. Introduction: What is a "medium? What are "media"?

Guest lecture: 3 PM, 31 July in Cyberarts Studio: Mark Amerika on "Writing Cyberspace: Notes on Nomadic Narrative, Net Art and Life Style Practice"

Reading: Jay David Bolter and Richard Grushin, Remediation: Understanding New Media. MIT, 1999. [Also on reserve at the USP]. Lecture.

Recommended additional reading (for first half of module): Ong, Orality and Literacy, McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy; William Mitchell, City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn [all on reserve at the USP Reading Room, 6th floor Old Admin].

Weeks 2 and 3 Thursday, 8, 15 August. Old and New Media

What is a "medium"? Are there "laws of media"? -- do specific media convey intrinsic messages or have built-in biases or capacities? Why is it important for a computer scientist to understand various media? Digital Textuality and Digital Images. (1) some preliminary definitions; (2) digital vs. analogue media; (3) electronic and print

Reading: Jason Williams, Zoe (Director); Matt Hutson's Analogue/Digital Web Begin exploring the hypertext and related sections of the Cyberspace and Critical Theory Web as well as other World Wide Web resources. Take a look at Christy Sheffield Sanford's Safara in the Beginning; explore the multimedia materials in the 6212 folders on the machines in the Cyberarts Lab.

Lab 14 August: Introduction to Storyspace -- Reading in the authoring environment.

Recommended additional reading: Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital [in the USP Reading Room] See Being Digital website.

Week 4. 22 August. Hypertext: an Introduction

(1) hypertext systems before WWW: Bush, Nelson, Van Damm -- FRESS, MacWeb, Hypercard, Voyager's expanded versions of Hypercard, Transparent Language.

Reading: (1) Landow, Hypertext 2.0, chapter 1. The place of hypertext in the history of textuality; or textuality and technology. (2) Bush, "As We May Think;" (3) Peter Brusilovsky and Riccardo Rizzo, "Map-Based Horizontal Navigation in Educational Hypertext;" (4) Adelman and Kahn's animation of the Memex [in individual machines in Cyberarts Studio]. Lecture.

Lab 21 August: Introduction to Storyspace -- Creating documents in the authoring environment.

Week 5: 29 August. Digital Text, Markup Systems, and Electronic Document Systems

Reading: J. H. Coombs, A. H. Renear, and S. J. deRose. "Markup Systems and the Future of Scholarly Text Processing." Communications of the ACM 30 (November 1987): 933-47. Explore Electronic Book Technologies' Dynatext in various Mac or Windows examples, including Landow, Hypertext in Hypertext (1992). Introduction to HTML as a markup system.

Lab 28 August: Introduction to basic HTML and HTML editing software; exporting from Storyspace to HTML.

Week 6 Thursday, 5 September. What Critical Theory in the Humanities has to Offer Computer Science.

Reading: Landow, Hypertext 2.0, chapters 1.1 and all of 2. (If Hypertext 2.0 hasn't arrived in the bookstore yet, use the online version of chapter one from the first edition of Hypertext. Multimedia and hypertext projects: Steve Cook, Writing as Virus: Hypertext as Meme; Pearl Maria Forss, Authorship; Wee Liang Meng, What is An Author?

Week 7: 12 September. Vacation

Week 8. Thursday, 19 September. Open Systems: Intermedia and Microcosm

Midterm assignment due 1 PM on Tuesday 17 September at Prof. Landow's office.

The midterm project consists of two related exercises and involves creating (1) a substantial Storyspace web that explicates, challenges, critiques, or in some way relates to the theory of hypertext and new media we have read and the systems we have explored. It may take the form of nonfiction, fiction, or a combination of the two; (2) an html version of the Storyspace web.

Reading: N. Yakelovich et al, "Intermedia: The Concept and Construction of a Seamless Information Environment," IEEE Computer (January 1998): 81-96 [in University Scholars reading room]; M. Walter, "IRIS Intermedia: Pushing the Boundaries of Hypertext," Seybold Report on Publishing 18 (August 1989) [in University Scholars reading room]. Intermedia Video during class. Microcosm [one copy on reserve in University Scholars reading room]. Hypertext 2.0, chapters 3-4.

Week 9 Thursday, Thursday, 26 September. NUS's Interactive Virtual Learning Environment (IVLE)

Guest Lecture by Gilles Doiron of the Center for Development of Teaching and Learning

Week 10. Thursday, 3 October. Reconfiguring Writing: the Rhetoric of Hypermedia, and Writing with Images

Reading: Landow, "Reconfiguring Writing" (Chapter 5 in Hypertext 2.0); "Growing up Digerate" in Cyberspace web. Lecture.

Recommended additional reading: Mark C. Taylor and Esa Saarinen, Imagologies: Media Philosophy.

Week 11 Thursday, 10 October. Hypertext in Education (1): Teaching and Learning with Digital resources

Landow, Hypertext 2.0, chapter 7. The Victorian Web.

Week 12. Thursday, 17 October. Hypertext in Education (2): Teaching and Learning with Digital resources

Vizability; Scuola di San Rocco

Week 13 Thursday, 24 October. Hypertext Fiction

Reading: Michael Joyce, Afternoon; M. D. Coverley [Marjorie Luesbrink], Califia [Windows only; on reserve]. Landow, Hypertext 2.0, chapter 6. "Reconfiguring Narrative;" Lecture.

Recommended reading: chapters by Liestøl and Douglas in Landow, Hyper/Text/Theory.

Week 14 Thursday, 31 October. Hypertext Fiction

Reading Jackson, Patchwork Girl; Sections on Patchwork Girl in the class web.

Final Project

Your final project, which must have a minimum of 50 lexias, must investigate some aspect of a major hypertext theorist or theoretical issue in relation to hypertext. It must demonstrate an understanding of the assigned readings, and, for extra credit, you can use non-assigned readings [Look at the various proceedings of ACM hypertext conferences, the first of which took place in 1987.] You may use html, Storypace, Flash, or any other software, and your project could take the form of programming as demonstration of your points. Please discuss your planned project with Professor Landow as soon as possible.

Related Resources

Some Websites of Interest

Available from the bookstore

Cyberspace Web Hypertext

Last modified 22 August 2002