Rey Chow (
Fri, 10 Jun 1994 10:57:46 -0700 (PDT)

This is in response to your "As a suggestion, think about announcing
yourself to the list; tell us what you're doing, and why you're interested
in VRML."

The Stack of the Artist of Kouroo has been in existence for five years as
a research tool for humanities scholars. It began as a project to
eliminate all future concordances, and spread from there.

The life and times and works of Henry David Thoreau have been used as the
central focus for this testbed project, which is to demonstrate the
future of humanities research. Enough materials have now been accumulated
to more than fill a present 560-Meg CD-ROM. The textspace already
includes more than 19,000,000 hypertext links. There are thumbnail
biographies of some 450 persons with whom Thoreau interacted during his
life, including some 45 reverends (Try thinking about a person who
personally knows 45 reverends. --Be sure to stop before lunch.) The
master chronology file having to do with Thoreau's life and times now
amounts to about 4,500 detailed screens. Since he died of TB, for
instance, there is a detailed study of TB in the 19th Century (phthisis),
what people knew and did not know about it, who was dying and how and how
fast, and so on and so forth. Since he played the flute, there is a
detailed chronology of the various types of flute mechanisms and how they
relate to the flute mechanism which was employed in the flute he was
given by his family. Since he was a birder, there is a whole lot of stuff
on various species of birds. Et cetera.

Having filled in more or less every word written by Thoreau, not
including all of his correspondence as yet, we have been accumulating the
various literary works written in and around Concord during his lifetime,
such as the works of Emerson, the two Alcotts, Hawthorne, even Melville
(yes, full text of MOBY-DICK, and also WHITE JACKET, and also REDBURN).

It is a most difficult task, to organize such immense quantities of
material in a manner in which the mass of it can be intuitively navigated.
One of the ways in which this is being done is, the shoreline of our
virtual Walden Pond is being divided into lakefront lots, with a Thoreau
scholar assigned to each lot, and each scholar is invited to construct a
cabin of his or her own design on that lot. Then, when one visits the
works of that scholar in exegesis of the works of Thoreau, one may enter
that scholar's cabin, go over to that scholar's bookshelf, and select
from the bookshelf the particular work of exegesis which one desires to
consult. For instance, in Stanley Cavell's virtual cabin, on his virtual
bookshelf, there would be among other things a virtual copy of the updated
edition of his THE SENSES OF WALDEN. Inside the volume, of course, his
references to WALDEN would be hypertexted to the full text of WALDEN, so
that one could "pop" back and forth between say the discussion of loss in
the first chapter of WALDEN, "Economy," and what Professor Cavell has to
say about that discussion of loss, in his THE SENSES OF WALDEN.

I have joined this list in the hope that I can learn more about spatial
representation, so that I can make this visual mapping and navigation
feature of the research textspace more congenial to the scholars
utilizing it.

\s\ Austin Meredith, "Stack of the Artist of Kouroo" Project