Notebook of Sand

• Recent Publications
• Recent Projects
• Conferences & Speaking
"Comparing Spatial Hypertext Collections"
  ACM Hypertext '09
"Archiving and Sharing Your Tinderbox"
  Tinderbox Weekend London '09
"The Electronic Nature of Future Literatures"
  Literary Studies Now, Apr '09
"The World University Project"
  St. John's Col. Cambridge, Feb '09
"Ethical Explanations,"
  The New Knowledge Forge, Jun '08
Lecture, Cambridge University
  Tragedy in E-Lit, Nov '07
Hypertext '07: Tragedy in E-Lit
Host for Tinderbox Cambridge '07
Keynote: Dickinson State Uni Conf
Upper Midwest NCHC'07: Speaker
eNarrative 6: Creative Nonfiction
HT'05: "Philadelphia Fullerine"
  Nelson award winning paper
NCHC '05:
 Nurturing Independent Scholarship
Riddick Practicum:
  Building Meeting Good Will
NCHC '04:
  Philadelphia Fullerine
  Lecture on American Studies
WWW@10: Nonfiction on the Web
NCHC '03: Parliamentary Procedure
ELL '03 -- Gawain Superstar
• (a)Musing (ad)Dictions:

Ideas. Tools. Art. Build --not buy. What works, what doesn't. Enjoy new media and software aesthetics at Tekka.

Theodore Gray (The Magic Black Box)

Faith, Life, Art, Academics. Sermons from my family away from home: Eden Chapel!

My other home: The Cambridge Union Society (in 2007, I designed our [Fresher's Guide])

The Economist daily news analysis

Global Higher Ed blog

• Hypertext/Writing

Writing the Living Web

Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems, hypertext expert Mark Bernstein. (Electronic) Literature, cooking, art, etc.

Fabulous game reviews at playthisthing.

• Stats

Chapter I: Born. Lived. Died.

There is a Chapter II.

Locale: Lancaster County Pa, USA

Lineage: Guatemala

Religion: My faith is the primary focus of my life, influencing each part of me. I have been forgiven, cleansed, and empowered by Jesus Christ. Without him, I am a very thoughtful, competent idiot. With him, I am all I need to be, all I could ever hope for. I oppose institutional religious stagnation, but getting together with others is a good idea. God is real. Jesus Christ is his Son, and the Bible is true. Faith is not human effort. It's human choice. I try to be the most listening, understanding, and generous person I can.

Interests: Anything I can learn. Training and experience in new media, computer science, anglophone literature, education, parliamentary debate, democratic procedure, sculpture, and trumpet performance. Next: applied & computational linguistics, probably.

Education: Private school K-3. Home educated 4-12. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elizabethtown College in Jan 2006. As the 2006 Davies-Jackson Scholar, I studied English at St. John's College, Cambridge University from 2006 - 2008.

Memberships: Eden Baptist, Cambridge Union Society, ACM, AIP, GPA.

Alum of the Elizabethtown College Honors Program, sponsored by the Hershey Company.

Information Flexibility and Tinderbox
Saturday, 29 May 2004 :-:

Meetings, meetings.

And then I began to write. After a few hours, my efforts began to look like spaghetti.

Last week, I began with an organized Tinderbox Map View of the main areas of the site. Pages were organized in circles around a central set of links. Everything looked nice. Academic majors were one diagram. Minors were another area, and departments were another area. This division couldn't last long. I wasn't hired to make nice-looking diagrams. I was hired to write thoroughly, thoughtfully interlinked content.

I'm writing by department. The people in academic departments form the core part of an academic institution. Nothing happens without some link to them. For marketing reasons, viewers will first be directed toward majors, but the content's internal structure will funnel them toward departments.

When I write, I first annotate a department's existing pamphlets, catalogs, and news releases. Then I open the Tinderbox file and drag all the department-related pages in front of an adornment for that department. I begin to write, and the pieces begin to connect.

Tinderbox image of the Fine and Performing Arts content map

Each department has unique challenges. In the case of the Fine and Performing Arts department, three somewhat disconnected areas must come together: art, theatre, and music. Art and theatre feature only a major and a minor. But music posed some challenges: three majors and one minor. Later on, the biology and chemistry departments will pose another challenge. I will have to heavly interlink them, since biotech, biochemistry, and environmental science draw heavily from both departments.

By using Tinderbox, I am not constrained by common hierarchical ideas. Neither am I distracted by the designers' layouts. For example, I realized that all three music majors share the same basic features. But there is no central Music Department page to place content. I considered packing the general Music Major page with everything. But this wouldn't reflect the college well. The basic music major is the least emphasized music major. I also realized that a full list of the co-curricular opportunities available to music majors would clutter the Fine and Performing Arts page.

To solve this, I created a new, music landing page (visible if you follow the screenshot thumbnail link). Unlike a department page (it won't list faculty, etc) it contains information common to all music majors and minors. Now, the Music Therapy Major, Music Education Major, and Music Major links point to the landing page, which directs viewers to their desired focus and displays basic information about music at Elizabethtown.

This is a natural solution. Had I thought hierarchically, I would have by habit broken FAPA into three sub-departments: art, theatre, and music. But this wouldn't accurately portray the college. A tree-like model would have been unable to represent the truth. Tinderbox freed my mind to think more clearly about my task, for it is flexible enough to fit the nature of naturally-structured information.