Overview of the Ortext Design

Communicating with Prisoners is an experimental ortext built with WordPress. It’s a super-text that subsumes elements of scholarly articles, policy reports, and popular books. It has a modular design so that if particular elements interest you, you can build upon just those elements. Get theĀ Communicating with Prisoners content, Ortext theme, and ortext plugins to replicate and experiment with this ortext in WordPress.

We designed the ortext main text to be read forward linearly, but to be entered from many different starting points. Articles, reports, and books tend to be written to be read from their first pages. The web and WordPress intrinsically offer many access points to a content collection. The ortext design supports many access points for long-form reading.

The Ortext theme immerses the viewer in the content. It encourages linear, long-form reading. The Ortext theme presents no post meta-data other than the post title. Post titles function like section headings in a scholarly article, report, or book.

The Ortext theme has a minimalist, context-sensitive navigation bar. The navigation bar provides easily understood, one-click access to relevant text. The notes and data links on the navigation bar are independently context-sensitive. They lead to either lists relevant to the section being read, or global lists. The top and bottom navigation bars are identical. They present a simple window into the ortext.

While providing full scholarly documentation, the ortext avoids distracting and intimidating effects of such documentation. Hyperlinks make notes, references, and supporting data (statistics and datasets) unobtrusive but readily accessible. All quotations and factual statements in this ortext are linked to source references and data sources. Reference links include citation points passed through the URL and displayed at the top of the reference page. The datasets provide a large amount of data that readers can independently analyze to consider different perspectives on the facts.

The ortext design isn’t tied to a specific content-management system. We chose WordPress. WordPress worked very well technically for implementing the ortext.

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