Knowledge Organisation


Kim H. Veltman

Books, E-Books and Augmented Books

Unpublished, Maastricht: Pre-Proposal for a VICI Fellowship, 2002.

Brief Description of Research

E-books introduce many new possibilities to structure, comment and annotate books. However, most discussions thereof have not gone beyond replacing traditional printed books with digital devices. Our research suggests that printed books can be combined with new technologies to create augmented books: i.e. wireless, Internet can link texts to virtual reference rooms, provide contextualisation and give static texts dynamic features. This research offers practical experimentation in the direction of a theoretical framework concerning the reorganization of knowledge.

Electronic versions of books are associated with hypertext and hyperlinks, which have inspired a series of thinkers including Vannevar Bush, Douglas Engelbart, and Ted Nelson to go beyond a strictly a linear presentation. Scholars such as Professor Robert Darnton (Princeton) have suggested that the e-book of the future might be pyramidally structured beginning with an abbreviated (paperback) version, followed by longer versions, discussion groups, pedagogical versions etc. Our approach is also layered but emphasizes historical and cultural dimensions. Innovative Character and Impact On the surface this will lead to what a decade ago would have been called new kinds of multimedia productions. In effect it will do more. For instance, it will combine information about physical objects in museums (paintings, instruments) with theoretical primary literature and subsequent secondary literature from libraries and archives. This will provide a deeper understanding of the practical consequences of theory, and conversely a better understanding how practical objects are linked with theoretical texts and ideas. As such it will provide us with new insights into the knowledge (production) life cycle.

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