Ernesto Priani

From Fragment to Hypertext: Adding Layers of Reading

From Fragment to Hypertext: Adding Layers of Reading

Ernesto Priani and Ana María Guzman Olmos

Abstract: In this paper we will suggest that a hypertextual representation of the text allows us to show different temporal layers of reading and add new ones. We use the notion “layers of reading” as a metaphor to explain how, historically, each reading of a text creates a new layer, an independent “stratum of meaning”that is superimposed to a previous reading. The metaphor comes from geology, of course, but it is also found in software. When we first thought about “layers”, we had in mind a Photoshop tool called layer that lets you draw over a figure you made before, without changing it. The way in which this tool works is by organizing your picture in levels, so you can see the entire figure, while you are working only in one part (or layer) of it, and it encapsulates the other parts. At the end, your picture is the conjunction of the layers you have opened and drawn, but in the middle of the drawing process you can choose to work with some layers instead of others, and, of course, open a new layer to draw in it.

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