Andrea Lunsford: Creating academic hypertexts is certainly viable. In some ways, it makes manifest what scholarly articles, with their deeply embedded references and allusions and their footnotes/endnotes and lists of citations have always aimed at. To be more specific, hypertext makes the always implicit intertextuality of any scholarly discourse explicit. To me, this explicitness seems also valuable because, to put it bluntly, it "outs" academic discourse, demonstrating it to be deeply collaborative, deeply multivoiced.
MJS: What do you think worked during the project? What drove you crazy? What did you enjoy about the project?
AL: Well, what really "worked" here was you and the Kairos folks. What has driven me crazy is my inability to work very effectively, and this inability stems both from my ineptness [with the technology of the World Wide Web] but also, and primarily, from my lack of time. I always write under stress of deadlines and competing projects--all of us do. But this opportunity arrived suddenly and in the midst of all the other projects I was working on, not to mention my two classes and their demands. So I have been tremendously frustrated by lack of time. I have enjoyed seeing a print text take on new shape. The Trickster figure seems an apt one for hypertext...and reminds me of what one of my graduate students, Melissa Goldthwaite, calls "coyote discourse," which demands that we give up old ideas of "mastery." I like that metaphor a lot.
MJS: Have you changed in relation to "your" text, and who would you say "owns" this text?
AL: For a long time now, I have not felt a strong sense of individual ownership of any text. This sense is related, certainly, to the many conversations Lisa and I have had about ownership/proprietorship and my own stand on the need for "copyleft" documents and for the importance of a very broad "commons" or public domain. But I would be disingenuous if I did not recognize the degree to which my position as a tenured full professor gives me the luxury of this stand: were I a beginning assistant professor, I would not have the opportunity to feel the way I do since ownership of intellectual property is the key to advancement.
MJS: Does hypertextual communication represent significant changes in discourse? Will hypertextual scholarly discourse change scholarly discourse?
AL: My greatest hope is that hypertextual scholarship will show forth the intricate patterns of indebtedness, intertextuality, shared authority, and collaboration embedded in all scholarly discourse and hence change the culture of the academy and of the way the academy values and rewards such discourse. I don't know whether or not this goal will be achieved, and on my bad days I doubt that it even has a chance. But I still am hopeful that such a change may ensue.