Often when I’m reading a story in print, I come across a quote which makes me wonder: What was said in the sentences preceding the quote? Can I really get a full sense for what what happened just from the quoted selection?
What is Neotext Quote-Context?
Neotext Quote-Context is the name I’ve coined for a web service that allows writers to augment their writing with greater context about the quotations they make. The concept behind neotext is part the tradition that started with footnotes, became hypercharged with hypertext links, and now has evolved to allow the words of the original source to flow into the citing document, without requiring the reader to interrupt their reading experience by leaving the original document.
Humans started writing just over 5000 years ago. Since then we’ve gone from scrolls to codecies, to the printed word, to telegraphs, to webpages, to twitter and facebook.
As Marshall McLuhan said, there have been advantages and disadvantages to each new medium.
Neotext.net was inspired by the work of Ted Nelson — who coined the term “hypertext” in 1962 and had the vision for a universal hypertext network, before Bill Gates and Steve Jobs even assembled the first personal computers.
While writing a review of Ted Nelson’s 2002 PhD thesis, I was inspired to write in a way more similar to what Nelson advocates, namely quotations that pull their content from their sources to provide full context for the citation. Since Ted’s vision has yet to be realized, I thought I would create a jQuery plugin to provide a quick-and-dirty implementation to evoke Ted’s vision.
This form of citation is not meant to be a final implementation of Nelson’s vision, but an effort to build awareness about alternate modes of writing and to inspire others to improve the web along Nelson’s original line of thinking.
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The home page image is a crop of Willi Heidelbach’s original photo of moveable type available to wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation license.