/1/Ong's lifework was the exploration of the history of language technologies, from primary orality, to chirographic or manuscript culture, to typographic or print culture, and then to our own time and the secondary orality of the Electronic Age. In acknowledging my debt to Ong, I simultaneously acknowledge the host of scholars whose work Ong synthesized, chief among them perhaps Albert Lord, Marshall McLuhan, Eric Havelock, Jack Goody, and Ruth Finnegan.

/2/Many similar titles are appearing these days (Barrett, 1989; 1992; Delany and Landow; Harnad; Landow and Delany; Tuman), but these three are superb and highly recommended. Bolter, Lanham, and Landow have not only written about hypertexts, but have also produced them; all three books come both in print and hypertext forms. Bolter and Landow have also been heavily involved in the development of hypertext software.

/3/Ted Nelson is one of the three godfathers of hypertext, along with Vannevar Bush and Douglas Englebart (Bush; Nelson 1987; 1992; Fraase).

/4/If, as Lanham observes, "digitization has made the arts interchangeable" (1993:130), then the implications are staggering. To consider only higher education, as an English professor, a composition teacher, and a student of the history of rhetoric, Lanham believes that college students today need to be taught a "digital rhetoric" suitable for a networked, hypertextual, Electronic Age.

/5/World Wide Web was developed by CERN, a high energy physics laboratory in Switzerland. Mosaic was developed by NCSA, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Macintosh and Windows versions of Mosaic are available free from NCSA's FTP server, "";

/6/At the 1993 AAR/SBL meeting in Washington, in the Computer Assisted Research Group exhibit, a person could log onto the Internet, "go" to the Library of Congress electronic Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, and open up a WWW guidebook for the exhibit. When the guide refers to a particular scholarly treatment of the scrolls, available on the Internet somewhere in the world, the user clicked on the reference, and the Mosaic software communicates with the computer in Jerusalem, Oxford, Claremont, or wherever that electronic resource is stored, and instantly the resource (text, photo, video, etc.) appears on the computer screen.

/7/Computer mediated communication, or "CMC," is an increasingly common term used in analyses of the social, political, ethical, and economic ramifications of computer networking. Internet Relay Chat, or "IRC," is online, interactive conferencing. Multi-user dungeons [or domains], or "MUDs," were originally developed for "Dungeons and Dragons" and other online role-playing fantasy games, but can just as easily be used for an online meeting of a corporate board of directors or of a scholarly seminar. With a graphical user interface, such as the Macintosh or Windows systems, a MUD mutates into a MOO, a "multi-user domain, object oriented". For more on all of these topics, see Rheingold (1993).

Also mimicking many aspects of primary orality are the more exotic computer simulations, modeling, and virtual reality (Rheingold, 1991).

/8/As Stuart Moulthrop observes: "Hypertext is all about connection, linkage, and affiliation. Formally speaking, its universe is the one Thomas Pynchon had in mind when he defined 'paranoia' as 'the realization that everything is connected, everything in the Creation--not yet blindingly one, but at least connected.'" (Moulthrop: ¶19).

/9/The following section is an abbreviated version of a description of the features of hypertext in Fowler (1994).

/10/For examples of hypertext fiction, see the growing catalog of titles distributed by Eastgate Systems, Inc., 134 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02172, 1-800-562-1638.

/11/If the Homeric bard and his listeners are partners in the same experience, one might just as well identify the electronic reader with the Homeric bard, as does George Landow:
In a hypertext environment a lack of linearity does not destroy narrative. In fact, since readers always, but particularly in this environment, fabricate their own structures, sequences, and meanings, they have surprisingly little trouble reading a story or reading for a story. . . . this active reader-author inevitably has more in common with the bard, who constructed meaning and narrative from fragments provided by someone else, by another author or by many other authors. (Landow:117; emphasis added)
/12/I borrow the "frontier" metaphor from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which likens the cultural upheaval prompted by the electronic media to the days of the American frontier, when it was uncertain what kind of civilized society, if any, would emerge from the chaos on the frontier. The EFF champions the preservation and translation of American constitutional rights of free speech and privacy into the political and economic structures emerging in cyberspace.

/13/Barlow believes that authors will no longer be paid for producing and distributing a physical object, a book, because in cyberspace texts no longer have a physical existence. Rather, authors will be compensated either for performance or service, economic models which, of course, long predate the manufacturing model
"One existing model for the future conveyance of intellectual property is real-time performance, a medium currently used only in theater, music, lectures, stand-up comedy, and pedagogy. I believe the concept of performance will expand to include most of the information economy, from multicasted soap operas to stock analysis. In these instances, commercial exchange will be more like ticket sales to a continuous show than the purchase of discrete bundles of that which is being shown.

The other existing, model, of course, is service. The entire professional class--doctors, lawyers, consultants, architects, and so on--are already being paid directly for their intellectual property. Who needs copyright when you're on a retainer?

In fact, until the late 18th century this model was applied to much of what is now copyrighted. Before the industrialization of creation, writers, composers, artists, and the like produced their products in the private service of patrons. Without objects to distribute in a mass market, creative people will return to a condition somewhat like this, except that they will serve many patrons, rather than one" (Barlow:128).

/14/As I write this in late September, it appears that the current session of the U. S. Congress will end without a dramatic rewriting of the nation's telecommunications laws. Stay tuned for further developments after the fall 1994 elections.

/15/See the remarkable account of "A Rape in Cyberspace," by Julian Dibbell. The "rape" took place in a MUD and precipitated a crisis in virtual community building.

/16/On crime in cyberspace, see Karnow.

/17/"By the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs" (Haraway:174).

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