This is a quote from Mark Bacon (no relation)’s blog which on the face of it sounds like heresy. I mean, what is t’internet all about if not the absolute delight of hopping straight to a reference and reading it on the spot?
Compare and contrast the days when we followed a footnote which led to a bibliography which might then necessitate hunting in library catalogues and journal holdings lists to dig up an article which might take ages to arrive and when it did probably wasn’t half as important/interesting as we expected. (Well that’s how it always panned out for me).
Those days are gone and I don’t think anyone particularly wants to go back there unless on a literal (literary?) nostalgia trip. But on the other hand, have we gone hyperlink mad? As a blogger (no serious research, just humble musings after all) I used to think I had failed if my latest post wasn’t strewn with blue underlinings. I owed it to the reader to show them that every other word I used could be referenced somewhere else. Generally, blogs where I have appeared as a guest have also been happy (in some cases ecstatic) to have embedded links sent with the text.
Yes, I have sometimes worried that readers might wander off and not come back, and so I make a point of making link open in new windows or tabs (although I actually get quite cross with some other websites that do this as a matter of course. Who needs that browser clutter?)
Lately I have been more circumspect. I mean if I mention a well-known author I assume we all know about him/her or can do a quick Google if needed rather than go off on a link to the official site. But Mark has gone one step further and removed hyperlinks from the body of his posts (or at least the one I read this week) and listed them at the end. I actually think that’s quite a good idea.
And so I’m doing it now. So if you were interested in any of that, here’s where you can read more. And it’s still quicker than going to the library.
By the way he has also written a very interesting post on the possibility of reselling e-books which I was unaware of, and which, if it happens, will raise a whole hornet’s nest of issues.
Mark’s blog (with the one about the e-books)
Meanwhile a quick reminder to Bristolians that tomorrow (Sat 30th) there’s an Artisan Fair at the Arnolfini (no link cos you know where it is, don’t you?) where I’m looking forward to sharing a stall with Southville Writers. (oops, that link slipped through) from 11am onwards.
Lots of lovely books on sale!