FedWiki for Notes for the Semiotics Seminar

22 May 2015

I'm keeping my reading and discussion notes for this summer's semiotics seminar on FedWiki rather than in DT or TBX. I'm interested in seeing how it is to generate and shape notes like this in FedWiki. So far, so good.

I've spent two days working with an opening chapter in Chandler. I'm not keeping these notes for lecture so much as for loose discussion and my own consideration. So I'm seeing some topics from Kress and multimodality surfacing as I re-read Chandler. As I read, I'm setting up anticipatory places to link from and nodes to come.

I started with all notes from the first chapter on one page, with the intent to keep it that way, but after notes on the first chapter, I decided to break the notes by chapter as well as by topics that emerge. My call on those topics so far is that

- they will/may become points of synthesis - that other readings will connect at these points.

- that they are a theme or topic that I have encountered before and want to develop further in this reading of the material.

Which is to say that they are only tangentially related to my role as a prof in this seminar. The topics I'm adding, the points of elaboration I'm opening are points I'm interested in, not those that might need elaboration in a classroom.

So far, this note taking is working. I find a topic emerging as a read and think - and so the topics are a response to reading.

I'm taking time to think about the title of the page, in part because I want to slow down and consider what I'm doing creating that page, in part because in slowing down I can begin to think where that topic might fit, at least for now, in the scheme of things. One topic, Photographs as Signs emerged as a tangent to Chandler - a topic I want to address. But others are emerging from Chandler more directly. Eg: Three Modes of Relativity: the symbolic, the iconic, the indexical and The Materiality of the Signifier

These new pages all emerged from the main notes page I was drafting. That is, I had drafted some notes, saw a point were the new topic cloud depart, created a new topic title, new page, then opened the page and dragged the notes from the old to the new page, in roughly the same order. This way of breaking out the notes is well afforded by FedWiki. In a text editor et al they would be copied and pasted as a whole. FedWiki slowed that process down by making it a material movement of visible chunks of text.

A virtue: The leftovers remain vital to the notes. As I moved stuff from the working page to a breakout page, I left some material on the working page. This means I have places where more pages might emerge later, and it starts to create an annotated chapter-level page of themes. This would be far more difficult to create in a text editing page which doesn't rely on links.

I'm finding myself *not* using bullet lists, not taking shortcuts, not adding heads and links vicariously. I'm find my work on FedWiki more deliberate, deliberative, than usual. This isn't necessarily a function of FedWiki because I've been doing this more and more lately in all my notes, but FedWiki encourages a more deliberative approach by using the paragraph as a unit of composition in the factory, by making markdown one factory but not the default, by not making headings an easy to access affordance. That is, FedWiki takes a way a few affordances that I have become accustomed to and so slows me down to be more deliberative.