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DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly


Rather than seeing hypertext as offering only distracted reading, this paper argues that annotation software provides students with the opportunity to perform recursive reading: a process that facilitates knowledge transfer and encourages intersectional critical approaches to texts. As hypertext editions and online reading communities have proliferated, scholars have theorized that these layered, interactive modes of reading produce distracted readings of texts, especially in pedagogical contexts. With annotation software, however, researchers and students have the opportunity not just to consume these distracted readings, but to produce them. Within the classroom, annotation software assignments require a deeper psychological investment from students than simply consuming a hypertext edition. By choosing how and where to annotate a particular text, students' distributed modes of attention are re-focused on the text itself, pulling disparate threads of thought together.


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