Mark Marino, one of the people named Time Magazine’s man of the year last year, has turned his bleeding-edge writing implements to the task of Web annotation. Travelogues and journals were in use for a while before Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe, and A Journal of the Plague Year, and, more recently, email had existed for a at least few decades before Carl Steadman wrote Two Solitudes, Rob Wittig Blue Company, and Scott Rettberg Kind of Blue. As Marino has noted, literature of annotation exists, too, but Nabokov and Wallace, for instance, had a long tradition of “real” endnotes and footnotes to build on. Web annotation isn’t even out of beta (and specifically, the Diigo system isn’t) and Marino is already digitally scribbling a story in the form.
The dog-eared tale is called “Marginalia in the Library of Babel” and, appropriately, annotates the referred-to Borges story as told to us by a little fish. Marino has offered some context for the project in another post, saying,
“Marginalia” offers one example of annotation used to write upon the web and to use the web as writing. Borges seems an uncanny muse for this project for a variety of reasons, explored in the tale. After introductory text post, the story begins with a machine translation of Borges’ tale, posted on the web. Floating over the text, are the reflections of a meta-narrator, who sends the reader to other places on the web. As a result, the story is also reading over the shoulder of this character. The bookmarks themselves are the story.
Important! System requirements ahead. To read, you must:
1. Install the magical Diigo button in your browser.
2. Use a supported browser (Firefox on OS X works; Opera doesn’t)
3. Be patient, since annotations will take some time to load. (more…)