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A Word About Links

Yesterday, I posted the following comment on SOLO HQ, which is worth reproducing here at Notablog. It also elicited additional follow-up starting here and continuing here (with a response from me here about a television interview I gave back in 1997). Here's what I said:

... You see, if you open any one of my books, you'll find lots of substance in the text, but a whole new world in the footnotes. I've been told by undergraduate and graduate students for years that I've got, in my footnotes alone, a treasure trove of follow-up for the curious to discover and explore. Plenty of student and scholarly papers have been borne of this footnote frenzy, I'm happy to say.
So, the moment I became aware of the possibilities of hyperlinks as cyber-"footnotes," it opened up a whole new electronic world. And, like footnotes in a book, instead of cluttering up the text with lots of asides and alternative paths of information, interpretation, or knowledge, I leave it to the reader to follow the links---or not.
Fortunately, I'm not the only one who does this. The blogosphere and the Internet are expanding exponentially through a network of links to links to links. It also has the added practical benefit of networking through search engines, thus making one's writing available to a much larger audience.
So, I suppose that as much as I joke about my "whoredom," it really comes down to my willingness to use the possibilities of electronic media and electronic networking. And it means a lot to me because I don't work in the traditional academic job market, and anything that expands the frontiers of electronic links potentially expands the number of people with whom I will come into contact.
Ironically, something like this happened to me some months ago. A link to my article on the movie "Ben-Hur" provoked correspondence from the producers of an upcoming DVD release of the film, and I was happy to be of assistance in this project.
The Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio, once told Derek Jeter, current shortstop of the New York Yankees, that he always went out on the field and played the best game he possibly could. He said, in essence, "you never know if people will be watching your game for the first time, and you want to give them the best opportunity to see what you have to offer."
I think of virtually every post I make, every article and book I write, as a window to the best I have to offer; if providing a link here or there allows people to explore what I have to offer in greater detail, I'm pleased.
And if it merely annoys others, at least they don't have to follow the links.
So here's a post and a reply---without a single link. :)[well... at least in the original post there was no link... but with "Ben-Hur", how could I resist?]

Readers can join the discussion and comment at SOLO HQ.