Notes of intelligence, neobooks, a web of books
I stumbled across this site somehow: Notes of Intelligence. The author has writen some pretty useful summaries of a couple popular books, The Tipping Point and How to Win Friends and Influence People, and put them on pages of his WordPress blog kind of like I did here with Davenport and Prusak’s Working Knowledge. But where I annotate the text exhaustively, “Notes” distills the texts and presents useful summaries. This seems a good example to follow.
Until we have a hyperlinked and hyperlinkable book with infinitely expandable margins that you can read in multidimensions, how useful is exhaustive annotation?
More neobookish thoughts: suppose authors publish their books in a wiki-like format. Then, ala Rainbows End, readers can decide for themselves how they wish to read the book. The original book, the book minus errata, the book with hyperlinks to references, the book re-written cooperatively by fans, or critics. These alternative views could be layers upon layers of extra-creative work. This sounds like a living book, at least a neobook. The best or most popular views would rise to the top of the noise through Slashdot/Digg type mechanisms. All views would be available at all times so that if you were confused or uncomfortable with a certain passage you could see how and where that thread of edits began. Of course, rewriting the ending is a common enough gag, but how about rewriting the whole book?
With Rainbows End, I’ve been amazed how many other books I’ve read fall into the plot. It’s kind of the culmination of readings to date. But looking backwards, Vinge doesn’t suggest which books to read if you’re interested in topic X or Y. My ‘view’ of the book would provide that overlay of additional information.
I guess that’s part of what this web log is for: links from the book, both explicit and implicit, are given, and connections with other books and sites are noted.
One book suggests a hundred more to read. I can envision the books I’ve read as a web or network with each node a book or website. Each node may or may not be connected to many many others. Morville‘s Ambient Findability for example is almost pure bibliography.
Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to follow these links of connected books and websites – documents, anyway; to pivot, in a faceted classification system sense, on author, on title, content, subject; in a wiki-sense a list of backlinks to see where else this book was mentioned? A Science Citation Index, if you will. Trackbacks, etc….
Ah, Amazon has ‘citations,’ now, that’s great. What more does Amazon have?!
Reading Small Pieces Loosely Joined led me to read The Future of Ideas which was also cited by Smart Mobs and the Anarchist in the Library. Wow the latter cites 235 books! But then I suspected that! But there are many many web resources now too. How to roll those into Amazon’s citations. Is this a mashup task using APIs?
Need to add these ideas to the wiki.