The open-source Transliterature™ Project is Ted Nelson's new design for a different kind of electronic document-- with quotations connected to their origins, with overlays creatable by anyone, and without embedded markup or imposed hierarchy (unlike XML).
Here's the first part of it-- software to build documents dynamically from quotations, with each quotation connected to its origin. (Note that markup and overlays will take awhile longer; this is just the content level.)
Designed by Ted Nelson, implemented by Andrew Pam.
©Copyright 2004-2005 Project Xanadu and Xanadu Australia. Presently works under Windows and Linux; Mac version being debugged. This code will be released under an Open Source license to be determined.
Long ago we considered on-line documents. One of the first questions we asked was: "How can computers improve on paper documents?" Our principal answer: "By keeping every quotation connected to its source." We still believe this. However, those who created today's computer world didn't get that documents should be different now. They imitated paper. We see this as retrograde, like the buggy-whip sockets on the early horseless carriates.
The TransQuoter is the first deployed software of the TransLit project. You can use it now.
The TransQuoter brings in quotations from textfiles and web pages all over the Net and concatenates them into a web page, keeping each quotation connected to its source. Here's a sample of such a transquotation page. Each quote is seen as a differently-colored stripe when you mouse over it (this aspect may not work in older web browsers). Note that clicking on each quotation shows its original context in a separate window.
Each quote is a "transquotation," since it is connected across a document boundary to its original context, only a click away. (Note that the exact original context is delivered from the popular Eprints server, which shows the precise context position of the quoted string, as in the samples. Otherwise you get the whole source document as context.)
To make your own transquotation page, all you have to do is make a list of the addresses of content spans you want to include, from anywhere in the Net. Make these into an EDL file (below). Put our program, the TransQuoter on your own machine. It will create the transquotation page on your own machine-- or the machine of anyone you want to send an EDL to.
• Sample Edit Decision List of content spans. For viewing we show it with .txt suffix.
Here's the previous sample content list, renamed to .edl for using with TransQuoter. And here is the program you'll need:
• Windows executable (981K). Put this on your Windows machine (ideally in c:\Program Files\transquoter) and double-click an .edl file. When Windows asks what program to execute it, select this.Sorry-- we do not presently supply an EDL editor, but if you're clever you can do it by hand, adjusting the numbers on at the end of each span URL and feeding them to the Transquoter to check the result.
• Python source code (9K). Works on Linux and MacOS X.
• Spec for this software by Ted Nelson (at that time called "DeepLit Content Layer")•
• Andrew Pam's spec for extracting content from a Web page. This finds the exposed printable characters, without markup. Note that the W3C does not seem to post these directions anywhere, although it's approximately what you'll get when you paste a web page into a text file.
• Deep Background on the Xanadu Project, where this all began.