A Poem Can Now Be Written
"...a poem can now be written free of commitment to, or even knowledge of, the formal or material conventions for receiving the poem.
...an author can now create the formal or material conventions for receiving a poem (epitomized in what we now call interface design) free of any specific knowledge about what actual source content will be delivered into that frame."
News from Alan Liu's recent article in Critical Inquiry, "Transcendental Data: Toward a Cultural History and Aesthetics of the New Encoded Discourse," a charming and sometimes unnerving manifesto of sorts on XML and postindustrial authorship.
Target utopia? structuring structures?: "...thick, pliant strands of XML are girding the wilderness (and even tying in word processor documents) to enable a new order of knowledge ... a step in the direction of what Tim Berners-Lee, the web's founder, has envisioned as a future 'Semantic Web'--a web that will understand something about the nature of the discourse it is being asked to communicate and thus be able to process that discourse more intelligently and automatically."
And Berners-Lee in Liu's 18th footnote: "The Semantic Web is...an extension of the current [web], in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation."
Alan Liu, prof.English at UC Santa Barbara, launched the famous Voice of the Shuttle in 1994 and serves on the board of the E(lectronic) L(iterature) O(rganization) whose Electronic Literature Directory "provides an extensive database of listings for electronic works, their authors, and their publishers."