What’s in a Name?


Title: What’s in a Name? The Anatomy of Defining New/Multi/Modal/Digital/Media Texts
Author: Claire Lauer
Publisher: Kairos, A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 17.1
Publication date: Fall 2012
Official Website: http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/17.1/inventio/lauer/index.html

What's in a Name?

A screenshot from What’s in a Name? by Claire Lauer

I remember the first time I heard about webtexts and started browsing Kairos sometime after reading The Language of New Media by Lev Manovich and while in the middle of reading Janet Murray’s Inventing the Medium.  My head was swarming with terminology – new media, digital media, teleaction, and affordances.  “What’s in a Name?” was, aptly, the first webtext I encountered.  From the first click on, I was in awe of and inspired by the project.  The opening screen, with its rose, ready, it seemed, to unravel, to unfold and bloom into something bigger and more beautiful.  And unfold it does: into two parts, each with its own navigation.  Part I: What’s in a Name?  A journey through terms and definitions that is symbolic, reflective, aural, and inviting.  Part II: Anatomy of a Definition.  A series of categorized interviews featuring the following scholars: Cynthia Selfe, Jason Palmeri, Jonathan Alexander, Cheryl Ball, Gunther Kress, Scott DeWitt, and Anne Wysocki.

I knew after reading this text that I wanted to do my own webtext one day (and hopefully many!), to participate in a project that would require the creative use of technology and media to make an argument that wouldn’t be possible in print, with words alone.  Maybe it will be the same for you.

Related Resources:

What’s in a Multimodal Composition Class?

Anatomy of Invention
Janet Murray’s blog companion to Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice

What’s in an Image?
viz. Visual Rhetoric – Visual Culture – Pedagogy

Anatomy of an Intersection: Composition and the Digital
An interview of Anne Frances Wysocki on Hot Metal Bridge, Fall 2013


  • Lindsey Harding

    Lindsey Harding graduated from the University of Georgia in May 2015 with her Ph.D. in English. She is now the Assistant Director of the Writing Intensive Program at UGA. Her research and writing interests include composition and rhetoric, creative writing, and digital humanities. In May 2011, she graduated from Sewanee University’s School of Letters with her M.F.A. in creative writing. She earned her B.A. from Columbia University in 2004. She lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband and three small children.

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