Culture 1.0: creating a cultural workstation.
Culture 1.0 is an extraordinary product, not only as HyperCard stackware, but as a computer-based learning tool. In effect, it is designed to convert a Macintosh into what its creators call a "cultural workstation." What they've done largely succeeds.
Culture 1.0 is a multimedia contextual guide to nearly four millenia of Western history and culture, including music and literature. The complete package contains over 1,800 cards among its nine stacks which total 5 megabytes. A well-conceived and written user's manual comes with the set. A Macintosh with 1 megabyte of memory, HyperCard 1.2 or above, and a hard disk are required to run Culture 1.0.
Among its features are:
* over 200 graphic images of famous people, places, and works of art
* seventy-five signawre melodies of famous composers
* twenty-one cultural grids displaying the humanities disciplines by country
* thirty introductory essays to each historical epoch, including specific references to the art and music of that period
* fifty-nine historical essays on famous people, events, mid aspects of Western civilization
The basis for Culture 1.0 is over two decades of teaching and research by Walter W. Reinhold, professor of music history and humanities at New York University. Professor Reinhold and his co-author Chris Chapman, in summarizing die goal behind Culwre 1.0, say that: "The great aims of education are KNOWLEDGE and PERSPECTIVE. Facilitating culwralliteracy and perspective in the core tradition of Western Civilization is the ultimate purpose of Culture 1.0.
"It is our belief that names, dates and facts are more relevant and easier to assimilate and remember when seen in context, sort of like a sticky ball that accumulates more and more "stuff' as it rolls along.
"By knowing die CULTURAL and INTELLECTUAL MILIEU of the great (and even lesser) historical figures one can begin to acquire an ASSOCIATIVE or CONTEXTUAL CULTURAL LITERACY." (Culture 1.0, "Intro/MacroView - HyperForward to Culture.")
Culwre 1.0 divides Westem history mid civilization into twenty-seven specific eras or generations of contemporaries whose contributions were made within that era. Each era is represented by an icon for easy reference. In addition, there are CulturGrids(TM) that represent subperiods of specific historical cycles. Through the CultureGrids, users can quickly see all the important pople who were working, creating, and thinking, through which related facts, names, dates, places, and works of art are displayed.
Each major era is also delineated by country. By navigating the CultureGrid horizontally, the user can locate, for example, all the important rulers, composers, artists, writers, etc. in Germany. A vertical scan can then wm up all the important composers by country, for example, giving the user a glimpse of the leading figures of Westem music in terms of their geographic location.
Users can also serendipitously browse to their hearts' content via the over 2,000 dynamic links created for navigation through Culwre 1.0. Each link is emblazoned in bold type. By searching on the period of the Black Death for example, a user can then learn of the writer Petrarch, whose great love Laura died of the plague, and then return to learn more facets of that period.
Upon opening Culture 1.0, the user is greeted with the Overview menu card. This is the main hub for travel through Culture 1.0. (Figure 1) There are ten icons and corresponding rectangular shadow buttons. Nine of the buttons represent either the six major historical/ culwral periods, or three supplemental resources to Culture 1.0: Biblical History, Greco-Roman, and the Cultural Almanac. The topmost icon and button is the Intro/Macro-View icon, an introduction to Culture 1.0 and corresponding macro-views of the major epochs. At the bottom of the card are five buttons:
Review This button activates HyperCard's Recent command, which shows a miniaturized graphic list of up to forty-two cards;
MAP Clicking on the Map button shows the user at which level he or she is at any given moment anywhere in Culwre 1.0. (Figure 2). It also allows access to the customized Help card;
? This is the Help button which takes the user to the Help card;
Exit This button allows the user to exit Culwre 1.0. It gives him or her the choice of go ing back to the Home card or quitting HyperCard and returning to the Macintosh Finder;
Essays When this is highlighted, it provides a list of essays on that major era. Clicking on any of the essay topics brings the user to that essay; and
Reader's Notes allows the user to enter personal notes or ruminations about that particular card. When highlighted, the Reader's Notes button indicates that there is a personal note for that card.
There are two methods of navigating through Culture 1.0 Clicking on an icon or rectangular shadow button brings the user directly to either the menu card for that era or introduction to that particular pathway. Holding the mouse button down on any of the rectangular shadow buttons activates a pull-down menu that allows the user w go directly to a particular subperiod within that era.
For example, clicking on the Middle Ages button brings up the Middle Ages menu. This menu contains six subperiods and two buttons containing general essays and period essays for thee period. In addition, there is one of seventy-five music icon buttons. Clicking on this plays a signature melody of the period. In addition, there are art icon buttons. For exam ple, clicking on the Art button next to the passage of Michelangelo brings up a digitized photograph of the Pieta (Figure 3). This is accomplished via a commercial XCMD called HyPict.
Pulling down a menu from any of the buttons shows additional menu items such as general essays, period essays, and a list of countries through which the user can learn more about significant people and events in a particular country during that subperiod.
The user can then search deeper into the stack in order to find more inforrnation. By pulling down the pop-up menu of the Late Gothic - Ars Nova (13001400) button and choosing period essays shows a series hierarchical menu items (Figure 2). hi this case, the Black Death is selected. This brings the user to a period essay about the Black Death. Notice that Petrarch is set in bold (Figure 4). This is one of the over 2,000 dynamic links built into Culwre 1.0.
Clicking on Petrarch allows the user to digress from his or her original path and learn more specifically about that writer whose real name was Francesco Pertrarca. From there the user clicks on Francesco Petrarca to learn about his place in that period's history or can go on to learn more about Giovanni Boccaccio, author of the Decameron, by clicking on his name. Otherwise, the user can click on the Return button to go back to the period essay on the Black Death.
There are also navigation icons located on the upper left portion of each card that lead the user back w a particular area within Culture 1.0. Figure 2 shows all four buttons. The top button is the Overview button. This always leads the user back to the Overview menu card. When a major era is selected, its icon is displayed directly beneath the Overview button. When a subperiod is selected, ale grid icon is displayed beneath the period icon. Finally, when a particular selection is made at the grid level, a file or folder icon is displayed at the bottom.
"Smart Paths" is one of themost powerful features of Culture 1.0. It allows the user to define and create his or her own navigation pats throughout Culwre 1.0. "Smart paths" can be created through the Paths button located throughout this stackware. By choosing "Clear Current Path..." and then pressing Command-Enter, the user can create a series of links that can be saved and replayed at a later time.
There is also an extensive search system based on HyperCard's Find command. By pressing Command-F on the keyboard, a dialog box appears asking the user to enter a topic or keyword to search. The user is then given a choice of searching that particular stack or all nine Culwre 1.0 stacks. In addition, die user can activate HyperCard's Whole" command by pressing Command-Shift-F.
Also, the user can locate multiple instances of a keyword by using the "hit scan" method. The user does this by holding down the Command key and clicking the right or left navigation arrow at the bottom right of each card. The user is prompted to enter a key word as well as whether he or she wants to built a "smart path" during the "hit scan." Clicking on the mouse button exits th"hit scan" mode. You can also rapidly browse through all the cards of any stack by holding down the Shift key and clicking die right or left arrows.
Another feature of Culture 1.0 is the Cultural Almanac supplement (Figure 5). It allows the user to look at events that occurred on each date in Westem history.
Culwre 1.0, although it is impressive, is not perfect. Most of its shortcomings, however, have more to do with the current limitations of HyperCard (version 1.2.2 as of this writing) than with the application itself. For example, occasionally while doing a keyword search, the term is not completely surrounded by a rectangle when it is found.
Part of HyperCard's current weaknesses stem from the fact that only one text font, size, and style can be used in a field. Thomas Tafuto, Culture 1.0's chief programmer, was able to get around the style problem by creating opaque buttons in bold type for the dynamic links which hide the actual text behind it.
Hopefully, this will be corrected in HyperCard 2.0 (which may be out by the time you read this) or if they decide to adopt Silicon Beach Software's SuperCard(TM) as an alternative development platform. SuperCard is a HyperCardcompatible application that allows the use of different text fonts, styles, and sizes within a single field and also allows text (and just about anything else) to act as a button (see Erwin K. Welsch, New Technologies, CIL, May 1989).
Another problem is with the signawre melodies. The authors decided to program the music via the Play command within HyperCard instead of using actual digitized passages, due to space constraints. This will be hopefully corrected in the six-disk CD-ROM version, to be called Culture 2.0. CD-ROMs, due to die massive amount of disk space they provide (over 550 megabytes!) are particularly suited for handling digitized sounds, which may take up several megabytes of storage space each.
One thing that I found annoying was that despite the fact that Culture 1.0 is unlocked, the scripts are difficult to follow due to the lack of comments written about their functions and the fact that each script handler is not separated by blank lines at the top and bottom to aid in its readability.
Another more serious problem involves the Help function. It basically consists of a card that briefly describes die functions of the on-screen buttons. However, it is extremely limited and contains very little of the information necessary to take full advantage of Culture 1.0's power, such as keyboard shortcuts, how to create paths, do hit scans, etc. A user should be able to click on any of the areas to learn about the functions in more detail. This is a very serious omission for a package that is intended to be used as a standalone cultural workstation as the creators have envisioned.
Despite these problems, Culture 1.0 is a powerful cultural database that is perfect for public access environments from senior high school through college and, of course, in libraries, particularly those in academic settings. It one of the most significant and innovative HyperCard applications I have seen to date.
Happy Birthday, HyperCard
For those of you who may have missed it, HyperCard wmed two years old this August. By the time you read this, HyperCard 2.0 should be out on the shelves and nipping at the heels of two commercial HyperCard clones, Format 1.0 by Format GMHB of Germany and Silicon Beach Software's SuperCard-.
In this column we alert readers to new publications related to computers and their use in libraries. Publishers are invited to send information about their new tides and review copies to the Richard D. Johnson, 2 Walling Blvd., Oneonta, NY 13820 (607-431-2723) ALANET: ID ALA0203.
Two recent comprehensive guides to software are the following:
The Software Encyclopedia, 1989 (Bowker, 2 vols., $179.95), describes itself as a "one-stop guide to over 20,000 available microcomputer software packages." Volume One gives two alphabetical indexes, one by tide of software (with brief descriptions) and the second by name of publisher. The second volume lists the software by subject under each of fourteen systems, ranging from the Apple II family to Xerox micros. Understandably, the largest section is devoted to the IBM PC family and MS-DOS compatibles.
The Corporate Software Guide, 9th ed., 1989 (Corporate Software, Inc., 410 University Ave., Westwood, MA 02090, 644p., $50), includes short notes on more than 800 products for microcomputers, both IBM PC mid Mac. The volume is divided into major subject sections, each with an introduction and entries on products following. The entry gives a description of the product, system requirements, major features, ease of learning/use, and ordering inforation. (For a complimentary issue write the publisher.) Beginning with the 10th ed., the annual subscription rate is $100.
CD-ROM and Optical Disk
CD-ROM and optical disk technology continues to inspire numerous publications:
CD-ROM Applications and Markets, edited by Judith Paris Roth (Meckler, 1988. 147p. $34.50), feawres papers by five authors on the marketing of CD-ROM technology and on use of CD-ROM in libraries, in science and medicine, in government and law, arid in general education. Directories of firms offering CD-ROM for various applications are supplied.
The Impact of CD-ROM on Library Operations and Universal Availability of Information (Essen: Universitatsbibliothek, 1989. 240p.) includes seventeen papers presented at the 11th International Essen Symposium in September 1988. The volume also is a Festschrift honoring Maurice B. Line. Papers report on use of CD-ROM in a variety of countries, with three focussing on the ADONIS Project. Other papers describe the impact of CD-ROM on individual library operations, on library space planning, and on library networks.
The Librarian's CD-ROM Handbook, by Norman Desmarais (Meckler, 1989. 174p. $35). Maintaining that of the various optical information systems, CD-ROM holds the most promise for librarians and publishers, Providence College librarian Desmarais intends his book to "de-mystify the experience" of this new technology. He presents the various steps in use of CD-ROM, from selection process through implementation and evaluation, with separate chapters on library and specialized applications. Looking to the future, he sees local area networks used with CD-ROMS, more than one user at a time using the same CD-ROM, multimedia CD-ROMs, integrated workstations with access to several kinds of CD-ROM and videodisc drives, and doubling of disk capacity.
Optical Disks vs. Micrographics as Document Storage & Retrieval Technologies, by William Saffady (Meckler, 1988. 106p. $27.50). Saffady, of die SUNY-Albany library school, intends this volume for individuals responsible for records management systems. The first part surveys opinions about the relationship of micrographics andoptical disks with a review of optical disk formats and how they compete with microforms in specific situations.
The second part gives detailed comparions of computer-assisted microfilm retrieval systems and optical filing systems. Saffady then presents a hybrid implementation that combines both components in a complementary relationship. Portions of the book were carlier published in Micrographic and Optical Storage Equipment Review.
Desktop publishing represents another use for computers in libraries. Much general literature abounds, and several works focussing on libraries have appeared:
Library Desktop Publishing, by Cathy Moore (Council of Wisconsin Libraries, 1988. 72p. $20), gives a short overview of desktop publishing (both Macintosh and IBM PC), with examples of some library uses, and discusses software and techniques. Available from Tech Reports, Room 464, 728 State St., Madison, WI 53706.
The Macintosh Press: Desktop Publishing for Libraries, by Richard D. Johnson and Harriett H. Johnson (Meckter, 1989. 180p. $24.50). The Johnsons discuss using the Macintosh for document production, describing various programs - word processing, graphics, spreadsheet, database, and page make-up - and how they can be employed either individually or in combination. Examples are from the field of librarianship.
Index of Desktop Publishing (Articles & Books) (Brenner Information Group, 1989. 145p. $14.95). This new index covers more than eighty trade and general periodicals as well as a series of books and fists items through 1988. Entries are arranged alphabetically by subject and include brief annotations. Quarterly updates and a disk-based version are planned. Order from: Brenner Information Group, 13223 Black Mountain Road, Suite 430, San Diego, CA 92129.
The Macintosh computer has gained increasing acceptance. Here are two new titles of special interest to libraries:
Macintoshed Libraries 2.0, edited by Bill Vaccaro and Edward J. Valauskas (Apple Library Users Group, 1989. 102p.). Distributed at the June ALA conference, this new edition includes eighteen short articles on library uses of the Macintosh computer. Also published in HyperCard format. Available from ALUG, 10381 Bandley Drive MS 8C, Cupertino, CA 95014.
Macintosh Word Processing: A Guide to the Software, by William Saffady (Meckler, 1989. 155p. $19.95). Saffady writes first about selecting a word processor for the Macintosh and then describes nine word processing programs in some detail. He also includes Pro-Cite, the Document Modeler System, and Doug Clapp's Word Tools and Sensible Grammar. Portions of the volume appeared earlier in Computer Equipment Review and Library Computer Systems and Equipment Review. Information dates from mid-1988; thus there is no consideration of MacWrite II, Microsoft Word 4.0, or Nisus.
Guides for Libraries
Several general practical guides for libraries include:
Local Area Networks in Information Management, by Harry M. Kibirige (Greenwood Press, 1989. 177p. $39.95). Kibirige, of Queens College library school, explores microcomputer networking systems with an emphasis on local area networks (LANs). He gives an overview of LAN technology, protocols and standards, selecting a LAN, and design and implementation of the network. He also considers alternatives to LANs, like multi-user micros, and notes several possibilities for the future: the integrated services digital network (ISDN) that takes advantage of the telephone system; the expanded needs and desires of home computer users; telecommuting; arid combining CD-ROMs with LANs.
Microcomputers and the Reference Librarian, by Patrick R. Dewey (Meckler, 1989. 207p. $39.50 cloth, $24.50 paper). Dewey, a prolific writer on computer matters, intends this book as a ready reference for the common questions library users and librarians have about computers. It is essentially an annotated bibliography of sources. The first section is directed to library patrons and die second to needs of librarians. Each is arranged by broad subjects, and two indexes give a more detailed approach to the contents.
Retrospective Conversion: A Practical Guide for Libraries, by Jane Beaumont and Joseph P. Cox (Meckler, 1989. 198p. $35). Beaumont, an automation consultant in Toronto, and Cox, a catalog librarian at die University of Toronto, have as their goal "to provide the essential information for organizing a recon project creating or obtaining appropriate machine-readable records, and establishing ongoing procedures for online cataloging." Their intended audience is librarians in small- and medium-sized libraries. They follow a project through step by step, providing checklists of necessary actions, and suggesting readings for further information. In several chapters on MARC they give details, both on bibliographic records and authority records. Appendixes list sources of MARC records and recon services and vendors and sample forms to use.
Statistics for Library Decision Making: A Handbook, by Peter Hernon and others (Ablex, 1989. 200p. $35 cloth, $19.95 paper). Hernon and his colleagues look here at a variety of statistical tools libraries can use and devote one chapter to microcomputers and how they may be used to support statistical analysis, a subject covered in greater detail in Hernon and John V. Richardson's Microcomputer Software for Performing Statistical Analysis (Ablex, 1988).
The following titles are of general interest:
OPACs and Beyond. Proceedings of a Joint Meeting of the British Library, DBMIST, and OCLC (OCLC, 1989. 120p. paper, $12,59). This volume includes thirteen papers from a second annual invitational meeting. The international tone is shown in the names of the sponsors (DBMIST=Direction des Biblioteques, des Mustees et de l'Information Scientifique et Technique). The papers deal with the current state of OPAC technology and view the OPAC (online public access catalog) as one important component of information systems. Such systems will give increased access to an expanding base of information in machine-readable form - ranging from library holdings, shelf location, and availability information to text of electronic documents themselves.
Hypermedia is a new journal published three times a year (first issue, Spring 1989) by Taylor Graham (U.S. subscription rate: $85). It is "designed to provide a focus for research and a source of information on the practical and theoretical developments in hypermedia, hypertext, and related technologies." Patricia Baird, Department of Information Science, University of Strathclyde, is editor.
The first issue (91p.) includes a "Hyperwelcome" from the man who "invented" hypertext, Theodor Nelson, three articles, and four reviews (one review is of William Gibson's 1984 science fiction novel, Neuromancer). The issue ends with an annotated and fairly lengthy bibliography on hypertext.
Intelligent Interfaces and Retrieval Methods for Subject Searching in Bibliographic Retrieval Systems, by Charles R. Hildreth (Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress, 1989. 120p. $20). Hildreth looks at current and possible future software technologies used in "intelligent interfaces," the special purpose software that employs logic to solve user problems automatically. He concludes that we need both a revised perspective on users' subject searching needs and OPAC design to respond to those needs. Single search interfaces and single retrieval models are no longer adequate for the variety of searchers and search needs present. He suggests some possible solutions and finishes with the optimistic view that we are at a point to make IR systems more effective by adding "automatic" techniques and also enable them to becom "more cooperative and engaging."
Satellite Incormation Systems, by Edward Binkowski (G. K. Hall, 1988, 213p., $38.50). Binkowski, principal in a New York computer company and Hunter College professor, presents a nontechnical introduction to how satellite systems work and their integration with other forms of communications technology. He concludes with several possible scenarios for the future of this technology and what it may mean to the nations of the world. Appended directories of publications and associations give the volume a reference value as well.
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|Title Annotation:||computer program|
|Publication:||Computers in Libraries|
|Date:||Sep 1, 1989|
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