Every society fears a new technology, and when it eventually embraces it, it does it by declaring the death of the previous technology (which never dies completely) and adapts the vocabulary of the previous technology for its own uses. And yet, both in Socrates’ case, and in the case of the electronic technology, our active memory is threatened if we allow an instrument to do the memorizing for us.
This system, in outline, “starts” where the library is, in San Francisco, and “ends” in outer space. Its rough structure moves from place-based subjects to the made worlds of art, media, and culture, to abstracts like society and philosophy, to space exploration.
The Appendix is a new online journal collecting documents, stories, and analyses that might otherwise slip away. We recently spoke with the editorial and creative team behind the journal about their choices and motivations, and what we can expect to see as their project comes of age.
Orbiting The Silent History are dozens of “field reports”—stories written by readers and connected to specific physical locations. To read them, you have to show up, device in hand, at just the right glowing spot on the built-in map. A reviewer on iTunes is planning a road trip to read as many as he can.
The secret to surviving this next wave of mobile (and whatever comes after it) is adaptive content—content that has been created from the start with the intent that it might need to go anywhere.
On the web, it’s impossible to maintain the fiction that you can gather a single public together in one place. There’s always going to be one link further that you never explored, or one site that is totally different from you. And I think one of the things that the web does to journalism is that it gives lie to the notion that journalism can ever represent “the public.”
If you imagine every book with its own URL, every chapter with its own URL, then you can start to think about the information in books being truly connected in ways it can’t be with print books, or ebooks as we’ve conceived them so far.