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As a reader, when you read a document of a field you are not familiar with, a glossary can be useful to help you understand new terms and how terms you already know are used in this other field. A glossary does not have to cover a whole field however, it can also be useful to have a glossary made by a specific person, to better understand what that person means by certain phrases and words.

 

As an author it can be frustrating to know how specifically or generally to write, since your audience could be bored by long expositions or lost if there are not enough explanations.

 

Using digital glossaries could aid both these issues by letting the author quickly and easily define the glossary entry for something once, in a local, personal glossary and every time the author publishes a document the up-to-date glossary would be appended to that document.

 

 

Example

 

The plain text looks like this:

 

Friday I went to the Groucho where I met Joe and we discussed the glossary opportunities, as I started with Mark and Chris earlier in the week. Joe emailed me later with a follow up on how he is working on glossaries within his own work. I emailed him back, copying in Howard since he is a mutual friend who might be interested in this.

 

Chris has worked on similar projects and has a wider idea then I have on how to build a more distributed system. Chris and Mark have met, but they have not met Joe so far, something I aim to change.

 

Showing the ‘Short Description’, after the first occurrence of each word in the glossary. This is a reader option and is not on by default. Please note how there are many short descriptions interjected at the start, and then less as the document continues, since glossary entries are only shown like this the first time they appear:

 

Friday [the 15th of April 2017] I [Hegland, PhD Student Southampton] went to the Groucho [a media club in Soho, London, of which I am a member] where I met Joe [Corneli, University of Edinburgh] and we discussed the glossary opportunities [re-inventing glossaries as discussed in my blogs], as I started with Mark [Anderson, PhD Student Southampton] and Chris [Gutteridge, ECS Southampton] earlier in the week [15]. Joe emailed me later with a follow up on how he is working on glossaries within his own work. I emailed him back, copying in Howard [Rheingold, author and thinker, formerly of Stanford] since he is a mutual friend who might be interested in this.

 

Chris has worked on similar projects and has a wider idea then I have on how to build a more distributed system. Chris and Mark have met, but they have not met Joe so far, something I aim to change.

 

This is what it would look like if non-expanded but interacting with the word ‘Joe’, perhaps simply by mouse-over/pointing to it and it pushes out into the sentence:

 

Friday I went to the Groucho where I met Joe [Corneli, University of Edinburgh] and we discussed the glossary opportunities, as I started with Mark and Chris earlier in the week. Joe emailed me later with a follow up on how he is working on glossaries within his own work. I emailed him back, copying in Howard since he is a mutual friend who might be interested in this.

 

Chris has worked on similar projects and has a wider idea then I have on how to build a more distributed system. Chris and Mark have met, but they have not met Joe so far, something I aim to change.

 

Here I have bolded the text ‘glossary opportunities’, (which has been marked to highlight in the author's Glossary Definition of this term) to show the reader that it has a glossary definition attached since this is an important entry but might not be obvious to the reader that it should be a glossary entry:

 

Friday I went to the Groucho where I met Joe and we discussed the glossary opportunities, as I started with Mark and Chris earlier in the week. Joe emailed me later with a follow up on how he is working on glossaries within his own work. I emailed him back, copying in Howard since he is a mutual friend who might be interested in this.

 

Chris has worked on similar projects and has a wider idea then I have on how to build a more distributed system. Chris and Mark have met, but they have not met Joe so far, something I aim to change.

 

 

tl;dr

 

tl;dr is an acronym which stands for: “Too Long; Didn't Read”. It is used as a reply when the reader feels the author has gone on for too long, in too much detail. Reading with a choice of how deep to read can help deal with the tl;dr issue - the author writes the main point and the reader can expand as desired. In some ways this is an angle of writing ‘hyper textually’ but it does not imply the complicated linkages which mid-90s hypertext notions wrestled with - the component nodes are brought into play automatically whenever they are referred to.

 

 

Process   |   Creating Glossary Dialogue   |   Implementations

 

 

 

Glossary Defined

 

A glossary is a collection of glosses, which are word inserted as an explanation, translation, or definition, (Etymology Online, Harper)

 

In a narrow sense it can be seen as an elucidation of specific text written by a specific author in a specific document. It would not be stretching the definition of a glossary to allow an author to build a glossary over time and to re-use it's entries as long as the glossary still applies.

 

The notion is to build a glossary for an author, added to as a natural part of authoring documents, and for the glossary to then appended to the document on publish, with levels of information visible as the reader requires.

 

 

Origins & Contributions

 

This work is greatly inspired by Doug Engelbart's discussions on the importance of glossaries and discussions with Sam Hahn, Mark Anderson, Christopher Gutteridge and Joe Corneli. Additional comments and perspectives from Vint Cerf.