It’s time to wax again on the sheer giddy glory of stumbling onto web gems by the serendipity of curious link clicking.
It started in my RSS feeds, scanning an entry on Net Neutrality Comes Home to Haddam in Mike Roy’s new blog, Digital Incunabula. I actually didn’t even read the whole post (sorry Mike, hope you get to watch the Sox soon). But in the first paragraph, my eyebrow got raise at a link to Wiki in Eductaion — look at the URL www.ikiw.org — “ikiw” is wiki spelled backwards. This site by Stewart Mader (now del.icio.us-ized) looks like a great one for tracking wikis in education. I got distracted by a link to Stewart’s other site, the Science of Spectroscopy which sent me down a riff of memory lane when as an undergrad I had this great part-time job doing electorn microscopy at DuPont.
But that was a short tangent.
I was curious at Stewart’s Wiki in Education blog where there was a link with icons to presentations. These looked more than your grandmother’s powerpoint– where they Keynote? S5? No, it turns out the link from Stewart’s site ends up at a nifty place called carbon made billed as a free site that “could just be the easisest way to manage your portfolio online”:
* Carbonmade is a clean canvas to show off your work
* Carbonmade is instant updating with no HTML experience necessary
* Carbonmade is a set of easy to use management tools
* Carbonmade is your online portfolio
The portfolios available range from collections of photos to showcasing of skills to photoshop/illustration virtuosity to Stewart’s use as a presentation platform. As it stands now, on carbonmade, you can create 6 “projects” each of which can have up to 50 images.
I have not looked deep at carbonmade (though I made an account), and am not suggesting in anyway that it is a magic eportfolio bullet.
But I did not even want to gloss on about carbonmade. It’s more about the joy of this accidental link I followed in a curious whim I lump under web serendipity.
And it really got my thinking about the ever so humble link. That little
<a href"=...."> html tag. I’ve been publishing web sites since 1993, and can only guess that maybe I have on my own generated 10, 15, 20,000 (?) web documents plus links embedded in discussion board posts, blog comments, wiki pages… perhaps running up a total of half a million web links? My margin of error lis likely in that same range. And I am not bragging, but if you think about what makes the web the wonder that it is, it’s a bit about the notion of HTML as a universal, semi-standard language, a bit about underlying network protocols that we never need to see or even know how they work– it’s really about that humble link. Google as a search engine means nothing without gizzillions of links. Blogs would really be monotonous diaries without links. Wikis? No reason for them.
The link is the thing.
I cannot recommend enough the book Linked: The New Science of Networks by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi that truly underscores the power of the link, lots of links, and what it means for immense sprawling networks.