The Land of the Four River Banks


Version 1
Giorgio Buccellati – April 2021


The constituents
1. Digital page
2. Digital chapter
3. Digital book
4. Digital series

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The constituents

     We may distinguish four major types of constituents that make up the structure of a website.
  1. The minimal constituent is a page, displayed as a single unit regardless of its length.
  2. The intermediate constituent is the chapter, i. e., a cluster of pages gathered together according to a shared topic.
  3. The maximal constituent is the book configured as an assemblage of pages and/or chapters.
  4. An extra constituent is a series of parallel websites, gathered together under a hub that links several books together.
     The term "page" is the only one that is in current use. It is clearly derived from the world of printed paper, but it has assumed a different tonality, as shown for instance by the term "home page" which refers to what would be, in a printed book, the title or the cover page. The terms "chapter," "book" and "series" are not in use, but they are consistent with the term "page," and they appear thus to be justified.
     The term "book" corresponds to the concept of website. It may properly be considered as a digital book, as opposed to an e-book (for electronic book), which renders a paper book through images corresponding to the printed pages.
     Not only the terms, but also the concepts of "chapter" and "series" are not in use. In fact, the articulation of structural constituents is not envisaged in the current use of websites.

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1. Digital page

     The notion of "page" refers to a single file that is displayed continuously by scrolling down the screen. It does not have a fixed length, as is the case in a printed book. It includes text and visuals.
     A digital page is conceived as segmented into smaller components

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2. Digital chapter

progression within sequentality -- see also under systems
     example from this "chapter" (CONCEPTS): show progression from systems to text etc.
notion of chapter not in cutrent use, unlike "page"
etymology from capitulum "little head"
nesting -- refers to tiers in

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3. Digital book

     All websites in the cluster share the same configuration, as shown in the following diagram. This will serve as the Table of Contents of each website, with each "chapter" (as numbered from 0.1 to 3.5) opening onto a separate section. (For a concrete example, with some variations, see or

0.1. Introduction
0.2. Editions

1.1. A core book
1.2. A core topic
1.3. Themes
1.4. Monographs
1.5. Hist. of scholarship

2.1. Bibliography
2.2. Excerpts
2.3. Reviews
2.4. Sources

3.1. Linear indices
3.2. Multi-nodal index
3.3. Authorship
3.4. Data handling
3.5. Archives

     The major import of the structural makeup of the websites lies in the distinction between the Argument and the Record (Parts I and II, see also the comments about data and argument). Each of these two sections is subdivided into chapters that address their use in function of either the substantive or the methodological aims (the bibliographical tool and the digital model).
     While the distinction places "argument" and "record" side by side, it is in fact meant to emphasize the interrelationship between the two. The Argument includes multiple discursive narratives that are interrelated not only topically, but also formally through extensive and systemic hyperlinks (for a consideration on the role of printed volumes in the earlier versions of The Core see here). The Record contains a full set of pertinent data which are also interrelated, in content and form, with each other and with the narratives contained in the Argument.
     Of course, the interrrelationship of argument and record is at the heart of the scholarly method in principle. Whether on paper or in a digital format (such as PDF), any publication will draw conclusions from a deductive reasoning based on other arguments or an inductive reasoning based on cited data. So, where is the difference? linearity as tending towards completion
correlatikon between linearity and the whole
linearity tends to a goal within a whole
sense of completion, of the end
development: tablet/scroll > codex, book > website

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4. Digital series

     The configuration as outlined aims to underscore the fact that each individual website is conceived as a compositional whole. This is a fundamental principle that is not generally observed
nesting vs. parallel development

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