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Taxonomy of linking

Needed: a taxonomy of the many kinds of links that could then help us explore their differing value for users and their various roles in civic and other collaborative work.

For example, in his article on Matt Drudge’s linking skills, David Carr links to sites with a stake in the practice of linking rather than, say, to writers with ideas about how linking works. He uses the web’s linking power to point to examples, then, rather than to enter explicitly into a sort of a conversation, underway for several years, about his topic.

His article does link and does have a place in the useful history of writing about how linking works. But his own linking practice in this piece (possibly dictated by his employer, the NY Times) suggests, perhaps attracts or even helps to shape, an audience more likely to feel informed about the topic than to engage in its development. If so, then Carr’s links may quietly support the authority of the paper and neglect the collaborative possibilities that are already alive in the topic.

That’s a very quick example, I hope, of taxonomy at work: seeing the types, then considering the value of their differences. This is a small extension of yesterday’s posting on Carr’s piece. Earlier today on Twitter, @Chanders @harrisj and @markcoddington were stirring on this topic of linking.

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