The Coming Revolution
in Writing and Reading

Preliminary Script

Chapter I, A New Relationship between People and Text

Micromovie sequence:

1.

Dramatic changes
will soon be seen
in the way people read and write.

2.

This interactive movie describes
the causes and nature of the changes

– and the impact the changes
are likely to have on human society.

3.

One of the principal agents of change
is the multiprocessing computer.

4.

Another fundamental change agent
– one that is now being developed –
is interactive movable type.

5.
Interactive movable type
is a software invention
that will do for electronic publishing
what movable metal type
did for print-on-paper publishing.

6.

As movable metal type
brought about explosive growth
in the consumption
of print-on-paper publications,
interactive movable type
will bring about explosive growth
in the consumption
of electronic publications.

7.

But, movable metal type’s primary purpose
was to make printing easier.
Interactive movable type’s primary purpose
is to make reading easier.

8.
Interactive movable type
will make reading easier
by changing the relationship
between the reader
and the words and/or characters in text.

9.

Unlike conventional text,
which is passive and unresponsive
to the needs of the reader,
text comes alive
with interactive movable type.

10.
Text set in interactive movable type
is sensitive and responsive
to the particular capabilities,
limitations, needs, and desires
of each reader.

11.
Interactive movable type
enables each user
to make optimal use
of his or her particular visual, aural,
cognitive, and motor capabilities
when reading text,

however limited or extensive
those capabilities may be.

12.

The scenes in this movie
show how any document
set in interactive movable type
can be designed
– and readily redesigned –
to suit the needs of each individual
who consumes the document.
The scenes demonstrate the different ways
that text will be presented
and consumed in the future.

13.

One of the principal differences
between today’s methods
of presenting text
and those of tomorrow
is in the typographies
that will be used.

14.

Since the invention of writing,
particularly since the invention of movable metal type,
the convention has been to use linear typographies,
that is, to display text as lines of print.

15.

But, with text presented
as lines of script or lines of print,
we are unable to make effective use
of our visual systems
when processing that text
because the human visual system
is not a linear system.

16.

The human visual system
is a planar system.
The human eye’s visual field
is a two-dimensional plane.

17.

To read text displayed as lines of print,
readers must severely constrict their visual fields.
Readers must limit their vertical span of apprehension
to the line they are reading.
They must blind themselves cortically
(that is, in the visual cortex of the brain)
to the lines above and the lines below
the line they are reading.

18.

With interactive movable type
readers can shed their shackles
and make use
of their powerful
planar visual processing systems.

19.

To illustrate how interactive movable type
will enable the reader to better utilize
his or her visual capabilities,
look at the 10-word sentence:

The quick red fox jumps over the lazy brown dog.

It cannot be clearly apprehended in a single fixation by a human eye.

20.

But, if that same sentence
is displayed in the mu typography, like this:

The
quick red fox
jumps over
the lazy brown
dog
.

it becomes possible for a human reader
to see and comprehend the complete sentence
with a single fixation.

21.

Mu (pronounced with a long u, as in music)
is an acronym for meaning unit.
A meaning unit is defined, in English,
as either a sentence or a logical subdivision of a sentence.
With interactive movable type our sample sentence
can be displayed as five meaning units
in a one-line mu format:

The quick

red fox

jumps over

the lazy

brown dog.

22.

…or as five meaning units in a two-line mu format as:

The
quick

red
fox

jumps
over

the
lazy

brown
dog.

23.

…or as three meaning units in a three-line mu format as:

The
quick red
fox

jumps
over

the
lazy brown
dog.

24.

or as two meaning units in a four-line mu format as:

The
quick
red fox
jumps

over
the lazy
brown
dog.

25.

. . . or as one meaning unit in a five-line mu format
(as a 5/10 muglyph
that is as a five line muglyph with 10 words):

The
quick red fox
jumps over
the lazy brown
dog.

26.

With text set in interactive movable type,
the reader has the choice
of having the text presented
in either the conventional linear typography
– or in the mu typography
in a one-line, two-line, three-line,
four-line, or five-line mu format.

27.

Typographical format is only one
of the many choices that readers will have
when consuming text set in interactive movable type.
The next chapter will introduce you to the mudoc

(mudoc is a contraction of meaning unit document),
the kind of electronic publication that will be used
to deliver interactive text to readers.
You will see some of the additional choices
that interactive movable type will bring to readers.
You will also see how both publishers and readers
will control the presentation of interactive text.

 

   On to Production Notes for Chapter I
                                   Back to The Coming Revolution Playbill

Mudoc home page

Glossary of terms

Call for Collaborators

©1999, The Mudoc Corporation (rev. 09/26/00)
If you would like to reprint or reproduce this document electronically or on paper, submit your request to The Mudoc Corporation by FAX, email, or letter describing how it will be used, how it will be reproduced and distributed, and the audience for whom it is intended.