Friday, January 12, 2007

Bush's Jan. 10 Speech and the Future of the Book

Bush and books--especially future books--don't seem to have too much in common (although we all know that Dubya has read three Shakespeares). Nonetheless, the President's January 10 speech on the Iraq war has been given an exciting and innovative treatment by the Institute for the Future of the Book in collaboration with Lapham's Quarterly.

Operation Iraqi Quagmire (President Bush’s Address to the Nation and the Baker-Hamilton Report) is an experiment along the way. The form in which these texts are presented is an early prototype of a new style of Internet document that puts the conversation of readers on equal footing with the text. For more on the ideas and experiments that have informed this project, visit the Institute’s website and the if:book blog.
These online versions of the Iraq speech and the Iraq Study Group Report use a customized version of WordPress to permit participants (by invitation or application) to engage in Talmudic-style discussion of the main text, paragraph-by-paragraph. The possibilities for legal education and research--casebooks and treatises, for example--are enormous. I would love to see the platform they're using made available for development by others.

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

I can't help but notice that the broadcast used shelves of books in the background. As with so many lawyer and politicians, books are being used as a talisman or symbol for wisdom, learning, law. How ironic! The innovative presentation you link to is very interesting, Jim. I like the "notes in the margin" -- it's all the best of annotated old books in a new format. I also like that they published the report along with the President's speech. Thanks for the pointer, Jim!