Or: What's going on here?
This project is, in part, a demonstration of several library and information science principles laid on top of a software system designed by the project author called warp. Warp was designed as an interactive thought experiment. Warp associates collections of documents with collections of word plus definition pairs. In the document collections sections may be marked as "warpable" . This text is fed to the warp engine that finds words for which it has definitions. These words are marked as hyperlinks into the dictionary where the word and its definition are displayed.
When word plus definition pairs are displayed the definition is fed to the warp engine. This provides linking among definitions, not just between the document collection and the definitions. It is hoped that such linking will allow people to further understand whatever is being defined.
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Warp operates in two states, authorized and unauthorized. The default mode is unauthorized. In this mode a user may browse the system, read the document collections and investigate the linkages between documents and definitions and among definitions.
In authorized mode a user may edit definitions. The user may change existing definitions to make slight corrections or to change them completely. They may also add new words. When a definition is changed the previous versions remain available for display with the most recent version displayed by default.
No information on who made the change is kept.
This editing power has some (intentional) implications related to the sanctity of the original document, definitional authority and anonymity that are discussed elsewhere in this project.
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Warp is written in Perl. A single CGI script "uses" a module called Warp.pm to access a MySQL database where the word definition pairs are maintained. Words and definitions are kept in separate tables so that creation and modification times can be applied separately to words and definitions.
At startup the system:
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The first version of Warp was written on a few cold winter nights to experiment with creating unexpected links between dynamic documents. It was inspired, in part, by systems such as Wiki and Everything2 but is intentionally much simpler. Those systems are cumbersome because they were designed to do something. Warp was never designed to do anything other than screw around. It turns out, however, to make a nice glossary engine for a project that has something to with hypertext, authorship, thought augmentation, etc.
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