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18
study and focus on what they already know,
they usually also prove to be fairly disci-
plined in their digital exploration (perhaps
because of their very status as academics
in front of the camera). Such behaviour is
in keeping with the three dominant search
patterns characterised by Martin Dodge
himself, quoting Tauscher and Greenberg:
· Hub & Spoke: people visit a central page
and navigate the many links to a new
page and back again. Here, the hub can
be either the index, a map, the excerpt
under study itself, or the menu according
to each participant`s personal preference.
· Guided Tour: some page sets include
structured links (e.g. `next page') and
people can choose to follow these. Here
the structured links materialise in the
form of arrows located at the bottom of
the screen, on which one can click.
· Depth-First Search: people follow links
deeply before returning to a central page,
if at all
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C
onversely, students are normally more
responsive to the recreational and
digressive aspects of the device (perhaps
because they were not interviewed sepa-
rately and therefore less
scrutinised by the
camera); as if their first incentive was to
investigate the tool's level of sophistication,
its degree of diversity, in terms of docu-
ments put at their disposal ­ texts, films,
animations, music, photographs and so on.
S
tudents' strategies could be typified
by the terms also suggested by Martin
Dodge:
· Scanning: covering a large area without
depth
· Wandering: unstructured search
20
Q
uite obviously, the differences rest in
the opposition between the tracking
of a single, fixed goal on the one hand and
a more digressive exploration on the other
hand ­ though, of course, the distinction
isn't as clear-cut as that and some students
may have proved to be more methodical
than certain scholars who may also have
fallen into the gimmick trap. This all tends
to show that CD-ROMs meant as peda-
gogical devices require careful and rigorous
handling and discipline; one has to examine
the navigation tools, buttons and hyperlinks
or, in other words, the perspective chosen
by the designers, in order to make the most
of the digital data displayed. These options
are usually made explicit in the CD-ROM
itself and should be the first elements to
look for and thoroughly examine when
browsing.
J
ust as lecturers explain to their students
the subtleties of literary or historic text
commentary, they should teach students to
follow fixed methodological criteria when
tackling a new digital document (a series of
questions need to be answered before start-
ing the analysis proper). Students cannot
simply go through the CD-ROM random-
ly with no set purpose, at least if they are
to use it in order to improve their skills in
a respective field. Lecturers have to provide
them with the tools that will help them
understand that the new format is not just
a more or less arbitrary compilation of ele-
ments, but rather a homogeneous integra-
tion through a rational grid.
21
Y
et, in order to do so, lecturers must
of course acknowledge this as well!
They must be more supple in terms of
acceptance of new digital settings and
development, while remaining just as rig-
orous as their pedagogical training has
19 Martin Dodge & Rob Kitchin, Mapping Cyberspace (London:
Routledge, 2001, p. 177).
20 Ibid., pp. 176-177: [...] hypertext is structured in a rhizomic fash-
ion, in which any point may be connected to any other point.
21 Gallet-Blanchard Liliane & Marie-Madeleine Martinet,
"Hypermedia and Urban Culture: a Presentation on the CD-Rom
Georgian Cities" in Jahrbuch für Computerphilologie, no. 4, 2002,
p. 117; http://computerphilologie.uni-muenchen.de/jg02
gallet-martinet.html