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Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content by James Mathewson, Frank Donatone, Cynthia Fishel

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Chapter 2. How the Web Medium Has Evolved from Its Oral and Print Origins

On Media Determinism

Imagine if the only way to learn anything was to memorize an entire story based on a series of tone poems. Prior to literacy, that is how all knowledge was transmitted from one person to another. Consider the Homeric epic poems. The whole of the Iliad and the Odyssey are written like a series of tone poems to be sung. And that is how they were relayed for centuries before they were finally written down. With no text to rely on, there is no way one can remember what occupies thousands of pages of writing without the poetic structure of the stories (mnemonics). Lacking text, preliterate cultures developed elaborate mnemonic devices and embedded them ...

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