User:Angeliki/Interfacing the Law

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Annotative interface

Hypothes-is-pdf-audio.jpg

My contribution in the XPPL is about interfacing the ecosystem of annotations that goes along with the books. This parallel, often hidden, text-based content that surrounds the books and articles is dealt here as important as the core text. It can be seen as a supplementary material to the content of the XPPL or as an independent entity, an alter ego of the books. It introduces a forum of collective writing, that takes the form of paratext. That is, the main text of published authors is often surrounded by other material supplied by the authors, editors, printers, and publishers and in this case readers, like names of contributors and addresses (Genette).Each reader is invited to add publicly, and together with others, comments, references, poetic interventions, memories, personal associations, stories, research questions in the core body of the existing texts. The 'text' could be more than words like videos and audio. This material cannot be separated by the annotated procedures that are connected with the metadata hosted by the machine but also the manual implementations that have be done for a network to exist. It is about a shared space of an eternally mutable and under construction knowledge.

Within the infrastructure of the XPPL the annotative 'machine' takes advantage of and intervenes in the different created spaces that accommodate this library. Either through the cataloguing system or the tunnels being created with tools like Tinc-Sync and Rsync, the added and connected information can be passed through like small parasites. In addition to that an existing tool called hypothes.is is helping in writing comments in the digital PDFs or the HTML pages representing the books (containing the title, the metadata, ...). Then the annotations can be exported as a textfile and being handled separately, even leading to the creation of a new book.

The system of the annotated interventions opens a realm of possibilities in the structure of a pirate library. Even more it provides the conditions for a public space and forum within the library, maintaining it active. "Recognizing that text as intertext is one thing. Seeing that a text is a social space is another. It’s a deeper way of looking at it. To say that it’s a social space is to say that stuff is go- ing on: people, things, are meeting there and interacting, rubbing off one another, brushing against one another – and you enter into that social space, to try to be part of it"(Shukaitis, p.108). The added material can often be irrational, random, personal or specified by a machinery mechanism. This brings the sense of contingency of reading. When a book is read or downloaded doesn't mean that the library is over and passive. With the purpose to create never-complete 'versions' of the books, I want to relate the multi-dimensional subjectivity that feminist theory (Laccetti) introduces with the general perspective of piracy related to knowledge. The reader is invited to exist as a fluid identity in the multi-layered space of the XPPL network.

The interface of annotations are connected closely with the stacks, as is can create personal paths of research and lead to sub-collections of books. More specifically, this feature adds a layer of personal connections and series of thoughts related to a book and is a way to visualize interests of readers of a book, but also highlight the common focus on specific field of research. It strengthens the links between the people that are going to be related to it. The annotative system is following the basic quality of the library, that is a series of instances, stacks and serendipity. Thus, some annotations in specific pages will overlap each other or even being disappeared. The maintenance and continuity of the XPPL is based on the participation of the librarians. My interface helps people to stay connected and write together through their own interests, following the annotations of each other.

This new research is following up a continuous line of interests. In the previous special issue the final outcome was about the reading of a collective narrative randomly created by a speech recognition software. Now this idea comes again but people participate in the process of writing. The discourse of Virginia Woolf and other female writers seems to play an even more important role in this new research. Feminist if approaches in my study and my concept is also an important element. A new interest is appearing, though present in an older research, intensively and it is that of the technical knowledge of the infrastructures of pirate libraries and Internet in general. Like how can I create a local or not virtual network, what is an API and how can I use it, how to set up a database that I can edit.


  • Laccetti, Jessica M.(2006). Towards a Loosening of Categories: Multi-Mimesis, Feminism, and Hypertext | Electronic Book Review [WWW Document], n.d. URL http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/writingpostfeminism/appropriated (accessed 4.25.18).
  • Shukaitis, Stevphen (2013). The Undercommons, Fugitive planning and black study: Stefano Harvey and Fred Moten. Minor Compositions, New York
  • Genette, Gerard (2010). Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge ; New York, NY, USA.