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The website as unit of analysis? Bolter and Manovich revisited

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Taking as a point of departure that the website constitutes an important analytical unit for the analysis of Internet activities, this article discusses to what extent the work of Bolter and Manovich can contribute to the clarification of what characterizes the website as a phenomenon in its own right. Focus is on the second edition of Bolter's Writing Space and on Lev Manovich's The Language of New Media, both from 2001. After a short outline of some of the overriding similarities and differences between these texts, it is demonstrated how the understanding of the website oscillates between two poles: fragmentation/modulization vs. some kind of coherence. Finally, on the basis of a conceptual framework centred on the textual and paratextual being of the website, it is argued that the oscillation between fragmentation/modulization and coherence in the vast majority of cases will prove to be to the advantage of coherence.

Keywords: Bolter; Internet; Manovich; Paratext; Textual; Website

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Aarhus, Denmark.

Publication date: September 7, 2007

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  • Northern Lights: Film and Media Studies Yearbook was first published in 2002 and places particular emphasis on film, television and new media. The yearbook, although carrying a theme each issue, welcomes a broad range of articles along with shorter review pieces.
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