MetaMimetics + HyperMnemonics
Counting to Five

Counting to five. Counting five. Nuance.

If I recall correctly as a child I learnt how to count on the fingers of one hand close to the same time that I learnt how to trace the outline of a hand. Two different ways of counting. A discontinuous numbering associated with the tips of the fingers and the thumb. A route through the peaks and valleys giving the numbering a durative character. When is one one? When two has begun?

Years later I find myself enjoying the sweep of second hands and the cycle of hours portrayed in round clock face. Years later I find myself playing with the pulse of the time separator and the chimes to punctuate my time at a keyboard, my sessions in front of a screen. Sometimes I find myself controlling a cursor with a rhythmic movement of the mouse: feeding a beat back to myself as I deliberate. Other times I feed on the click of the keys. Or, for a pause, foreground for myself the staple sound of the fan motor.

And now I return to the hand. I compare ways of counting up to five. Begin with thumb and wind through the fingers. Begin with index finger and save the thumb for last. What is counting down from five like. It feels different. Counting down in American Sign Language (ASL) is a stretch treat for a tendon that runs along the ridge the middle finger: five digits spread out, thumb in and four fingers out, thumb back out and two fingers out, thumb in and the index and middle finger out, the index alone. That wonderful distinction between the three fingers representing the letter form "W" and the thumb with two fingers representing the number or the numeral "3".

There are many lessons here for how memory works. I've lost count.

Labels, Spots & Chains

Elsewhere I have suggested that Kari Kraus's musings on accidentals and substantives led me to contemplate using an ID/IDREF mechanism to assist an XSLT transformtion in selecting which of two different characters would appear at a specific spot. The Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines provide the author with the possibility of using the value of the "exclude" attribute on the <c> element (the attribute is also available for other elements). A fine mechanism for exclusive alteration. Great for providing a case for teaching a module relating to the application of the xsl:if element in XSLT using a test on an attribute value.

When I encountered another use case, it became interesting to consider inclusive alternation as again, the appearance (or not) of the content of an element in a specific spot. I was rather pleased to be able to consider inclusive alternation in relation to position. Again the ID/IDREF mechanism assists in expressing a relation in XML markup that can then be transformed in XSLT.

<w next="MetaM" id="HyperM">HyperMnemonics</w>
<w prev="HyperM" id="MetaM">MetaMimetics</w>

Handy for introducing the xsl:choose element with xsl:when testing on the value of "prev" and "next" attributes and supplying an xsl:otherwise option. A yen for reversals and XPATH can make an appearance in the lesson play with the use of following::sibling and preceding::sibling to accomplish some matches.

The Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines also provide for the markup of morphemes for the hypermimetic. And for the metamnemonic there is some XSLT that concatenates the content of a <num> element of type "accession" with the content of a <label> element of type "category" to create an HTML anchor element in the output (i.e. <a name="#label_num"></a>).

:: ADDENDUM :: The use of the <label> element to produce these anchors has been deprecated. The <index> element is now used to achieve the desired result. See Entry 117.

The memory part is about getting the correct label attached to the correct spot. Imitation, like acting, is about threading labels and spots into dismantle-able chains.

Title Tracking

Elsewhere, I have remarked that blog authors can and do play with the serial potential of titles to entries and how searching and ordering provide alternative reading paths. Part of this observation comes from attempting to model the content of a blog in XML following the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative. The other part came from authoring in TEI. Both trajectories involve encounters with structure.

I chose to model blog entries using the <div> element. The <title> element appears as a child of the <head> element which is itself a child of the <div> element.

If several blogs and authors use the same content model, it becomes possible to research patterns over time. Imagine: author So-and-so favoured titles consisting of adverbs beginning with such-and-such a letter for a run of such-and-such a number of entries and when the author broke the pattern a ripple was felt in a particular cluster of blogs. A dream of formalist feedback!

Beginning with Beta

test entry para

There is an unfolding about.

Scholar-at-large tackles TEI and blogging