Transpositioning, a Hypertext Ethnography

By Rebecca Carlson

This is a work of hypertext-ethnography.

It is based on my research of a small genetics laboratory in Tokyo, Japan where I am studying the impact of the transnational circulation of scientific materials and practices (including programming) on the production of knowledge. In this piece, I draw primarily from my participant observation field notes along with interviews. I also incorporate other, maybe more atypical, materials such as research papers (mine and others), websites and email. [Read the full introduction on Platypus]


This is a textual-based nonlinear hypertext. It begins as a simulation of a tutorial for the programming language R. To move through the narrative, click on words or phrases that are underlined. These words are links which will load new sections of text to read, or at times open external websites in a new browser window, which you can then close to return to the main narrative. There are often several available links on a page to choose from. As you read, you may encounter the same page more than once and you will also certainly miss things - this is an intentional element of this format. At the same time, you may find no natural, telegraphed or complete “end” to the piece.

After you proceed through the first few pages, four links will appear at the bottom of every page to help you navigate the narrative, in case you get lost, or want to go back or start over. They are:

Takes you back to the previous page, essentially a back button.
> q()
Takes you to an index of all pages in the hypertext.
> help(solve)
Loads these instructions again.
$ R
Takes you back to a new beginning so you can restart your reading.

*Acknowledgements and References are here.

Begin R Tutorial