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AL210 READINGS

[largely copped wholecloth from Dáneille's readings]
[note: links open new windows]

BATCH ONE - History Stuff

"A Brief History of the Internet"
by Walt Howe

To know your future you must know your past. Howe discusses the launchpad of our current trajectory (and has some cute links!).
http://www.walthowe.com/navnet/history.html

"A Little History of the World Wide Web from 1945 to 1995"
by Dan Connolly

More history, more links. Do be sure to take some time considering this timeline, though there's more there than might be immediately obvious!
http://www.w3.org/History.html

"Short History of the Internet"
by Bruce Sterling

Noted SF author Sterling isn't shy about using abbreviations - many of which we need to learn ourselves! (See NOTE, below.)
http://www.forthnet.gr/forthnet/isoc/short.history.of.internet

"How the Web Works"

A truly fun little control-it-yourself movie with some basic nuts and bolts. Even if you already know the nutsy-boltsy stuff, it's great fun to play with!
http://www.learnthenet.com/english/animate/webworks.html

"The History of HTML"
by Jeffrey Veen

Veen has been around the block a while, and knows how to lay out some complex ideas with really simple language. However, be sure you see that when he says "this year," it's 1997!
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/97/17/index0a.html?tw=authoring

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BATCH TWO - Multiple Audience Awareness

"Seven Deadly Sins of Web Writing"
by Gerry McGovern

You'll see there are really only six - but that's pretty much part of McGovern's point!
http://www.gerrymcgovern.com/nt/2003/nt_2003_07_28_sins.htm

"Writing for a Web Audience"
by Constance J. Petersen

Another list - this time of 10 items - but all make pretty good sense when considering for whom you're actually writing.
http://www.smartisans.com/articles/web_writing.aspx

"How Users Read on the Web"
by Jakob Nielsen

One of the Real Gurus of the Web, Nielsen's little "Alertbox" piece tells us what we already knew: the audience typically scans. (Remember the image of a monkey looking for a banana.)
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html

"Great Homepages Really Suck"
by Cameron Moll

Moll actually means "pull" when he says "suck," but that's not as funny.
http://www.devwebpro.com/devwebpro-39-20030627GreatHomepagesReallySuck.html

NetLingo & Webopedia.... NOTE: if you run across a lot of "jargonese" stuff - terms with which you're not yet familiar - let me recommend you check out (and bookmark) these URLs!

http://www.netlingo.com/inframes.cfm
While I maintain using framed webpages suck - and in the bad way - it makes enough sense for NetLingo! WAY fun stuff ... give yourself plenty of time to go sniffing around that site.

http://www.webopedia.com/
To be sure, a nicely done resource for the lingua franca of the web!

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BATCH THREE - Semiotics & Writing Visually/Mythically/Artistically

Notes on Semiotics: Roland Barthes - Mythologies
by Tony McNeill

A decent - if somewhat sketchy, but good enough - outline of the "must know" stuff from Barthes. Don't be put off by all the French jazz, but note the historical importance of Barthes, Marx, and that Saussure dude.
http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/~os0tmc/myth.htm

"The Aesthetics of Everyday Life: Conversations Before the End of Time: Dialogues on Art, Life, & Spiritual Renewal"
by Suzi Gablik

An 11-page, 220Kb PDF document emphasizing this basic truth: what you're doing in this course - titled, as it happens, "Introduction to Web Authoring" - is ART, dammit! <g> (Please bear in mind Barbara K-G's definition ... "art is that which gives form to value.")
http://www.nyu.edu/classes/bkg/web/gablik.pdf

Notes on Barthes & Mythologies
by Dowell

Please remember these were originally written for a presentation I did in graduate school for other grad students. They ain't pretty ... BUT they may help you with context & I hope inspire you to look into the book. [Note: opens a 270K, 12-page PDF file.]
http://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/AL210/BarthesPresentation.pdf

"The World of Wrestling
by Roland Barthes

"The physique of the wrestlers, therefore, constitutes a basic sign, which like a seed contains the whole fight." As you read this, think of how current wrestlers-turned-actors-turned fetish objects (e.g., The Rock [Dwayne Johnson], Hulk Hogan [Terry Bollea], and especially Chyna [Joanie Laurer]) have demonstrated a playful "postmodern" sign-slide (a merging/fibrillation of opposite signs in this case [good <-> evil, gay <-> straight, humble <-> narcissistic, &c.).
http://social.chass.ncsu.edu/wyrick/debclass/rbwres.htm

"The Shape I'm In: Interview with French Playboy"
by Roland Barthes

Barthes dabbles with the neurotic religio-mythology of slimming down ... and suggests the Atkins diet to Americans. Why? A gut-bursting meat-load of BREAKFAST, baby!
http://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/AL210/BarthesDiets.html

"Casablanca, or the Clichés are Having a Ball"
by Umberto Eco

Distributed and discussed in class.... (link to text forthcoming)

"Visual Semiotics - a How-To Tutorial," Part One
by Digital Dave and the Consultants

David Sheridan and his Digital Writing Consultants offer a terrific little primer on how to manipulate images using PhotoShop ... and how that manipulation can pack multiple meanings - of your design - in your visual writing.
http://writing.msu.edu

"lines of communication - media and communication studies: Program five: Sign:Signifier:Signified"

And finally - for now - a transcript of a truly brilliant, accessible radio show on exactly this topic; nicely done - you can "hear" it in your head (that's what my voices say, anyway). Maybe Vic Wilcox is right when, playing Devil's Advocate, he says the study of signs "teaches us to have dirty minds" or maybe Jack Solomon is right when he says the "commanding reason why you should want to learn to think like a semiotician" is to avoid getting "hoodwinked." What the heck, maybe Vic and Jack are both right! (A cool 5:47 minute audio piece is there for some of the heavier stuff.)
http://www.abc.net.au/comms/lines/programs/prog05.htm

"Semiotics for Beginners: Rhetorical Tropes"
by Daniel Chandler

While much of this is a recap from the above "lines of communication" piece, Chandler does a nice job of supplementing that material with helpful insights and additional conceptual aides.
<http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem07.html>

"World Wide Words": Synechdoche and Metonymy.
by Michael Quinion

Confusing your metonymy ("meh-TONE-ih-me") from your synechdoche ("si-NECK-de-key")? Mighty painful when that happens! Here's a quick & dirty little reminder from yet another Brit friend, Quinion.
<http://www.quinion.com/words/qa/qa-syn1.htm>

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BATCH FOUR - Design Critique, Part One

"Visual Semiotics - a How-To Tutorial," Part Two
by Digital Dave and the Consultants

David Sheridan and his Digital Writing Consultants supplement their first primer on how to manipulate images using PhotoShop. Their main focus this time is on ... well ... your "main focus" for your images. (NOTE: remember, when you hear "depth of 'field'," think "depth of 'focus'" quite literally ... and we mean "literally" quite literally! <g>)
http://writing.msu.edu

"Guidelines for Designing and Evaluating the Display of Information on the Web"
by Thomas R. Williams

From the professional journal Technical Communication (and turned into a PDF for us by WRAC's Dr. DeVoss) comes a literature review on webpage readability, offering quite clear and specific guidelines for your own work ... and for the work of critiquing pages others create.
http://www.msu.edu/~devossda/210/pdfs/designing_evaluating.pdf

"The Top Ten New Mistakes of Web Design"
by Jakob Nielsen

Our old buddy Nielsen has another couple of readings for us, this one another "Alertbox" from 1999 ... and you'll see they have been evolving and - as the next piece indicates - continue to evolve....
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/990530.html

"Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002"
by Jakob Nielsen

Jakob, Jakob, Jakob.... When will we ever learn...? Until we do, please never stop with the Alertboxes, dude....
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20021223.html

"How to Run a Design Critique"
by Scott Berkun

It's all about the usability, buddyboy. Usability City.
http://www.uiweb.com/issues/issue23.htm

Web Style Guide, Chapter 1

This time we're digging into the whole mammerjammer ... if only just a bit. Pay particular attention to the design of the styleguide itself.
http://www.webstyleguide.com/

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BATCH FIVE - searching the web. evaluating copyright content. wishing like hell you had a T1 line every-dang-where you go.
(Or, "Design Critique, Part Two")

Web Style Guide, Chapters 3 & 4: "Site structure" & "Page design"

Our seemingly ubiquitous resource - the Web Style Guide - offers so much in these regards!
http://www.webstyleguide.com/site/index.html
http://www.webstyleguide.com/page/index.html

"MSU Acceptable Use Policy"

Just as the title would indicate.... Here's where the proverbial "rubber hits the road," gang - at least as far as MSU is concerned.
http://www.msu.edu/aup/

"Crash Course in Copyright"

Again, just as the title would indicate. Brought to us from good folks at the University of Texas.
http://www.utsystem.edu/OGC/IntellectualProperty/cprtindx.htm

"Copyright on the Web"
by Jennifer Kyrnin

Kyrnin is able to lay down some practical laws for us with this reading. http://webdesign.about.com/library/weekly/aa081700a.htm

"Good Designers Copy, Great Designers Steal"
by Cameron Moll

Moll has some major attitude with that title, don't you think? Kind of a smartypants, eh?
http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1150

"The Internet Under Seige"
by Lawrence Lessig

Now available from Foreign Policy's site as a 523Kb (that is, fairly hefty) PDF.
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/issue_novdec_2001/lessig.html

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BATCH SIX - Getting Noticed by a Better-Understood Audience

"Writing for the Web"
by Jakob Nielsen, PJ Schemenaur, & Johathan Fox

Nine great rules for writing for a specifically web-based audience of readers. Each of these short pieces is worth an ordinary web-writer's weight in, well, probably like aluminum ... but that's pretty good!
http://www.sun.com/980713/webwriting/

"Just Turn Me Off"
by Bernard Goldbach

From Ubiquity, an online IT magazine published by the Old School Computer Nerds (an expression of endearment, gentle reader!) with the Association for Computing Machinery, Goldbach's opinion piece gives us much to consider in his Ten Articles of Association Between Design, Technology, and the People Formerly Known as Users.
http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/views/b_goldbach_1.html

"Customer-Centered Web Design"
by Jason Hong

This is the first chapter of a book - Foundations of Web Site Design - graciously offered to us by Jason Hong of University of California, Berkeley. [Note: this 116K PDF is just on my website for now.]
http://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/AL210/Customer-Centered_Design.pdf

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BATCH SEVEN - Compliance for Greater Audiences

"NetMechanic"

Yup, this is a pay site, but you can check up to five pages for free.
http://netmechanic.com/

"Lift Machine"

Uh-huh ... more software for sale. But this is only ten bucks at the University as a plug-in for Dreamweaver.
http://www.usablenet.com/

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