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Quote/commentary is a form of interaction in email and other modes of online communication consisting of cut and pasted passages of text followed by commentary focussed specifically on the excerpted passage. The term was introduced by cognitive scientist Stevan Harnad, who sees it as a significant development in communication because it restores "the real-time interactivity of the oral tradition" to written text[1] [2] [3] .[4][5] For Harnad, the most important features of quote/commentary are:

  • its ability to iterate and embed to any depth, which provides a new dimension to hyperlinking.[6]
  • its publicly visible and accessible nature; interaction in electronic discussions such as those found in electronic mailing lists, online forums, and usenet puts the author in potential dialogue with anyone who reads the text.

Quote/commentary is related to Open Peer Commentary and Harnad's own concepts of Scholarly Skywriting and Student Skywriting.


  1. ^ Harnad, Stevan (2003) Back to the Oral Tradition Through Skywriting at the Speed of Thought. Interdisciplines. (2004) Retour à la tradition orale: écrire dans le ciel à la vitesse de la pensée. Dans: Salaün, Jean-Michel & Vendendorpe, Christian (réd.). Le défis de la publication sur le web: hyperlectures, cybertextes et méta-éditions. Presses de l'enssib.
  2. ^ Harnad, Stevan (2006) Distributed Processes, Distributed Cognizers and Collaborative Cognition. Pragmatics and Cognition.
  3. ^ Light, Paul and Light, Vivienne and Nesbitt, Emma and Harnad, Stevan (2000) Up for Debate: CMC as a support for course related discussion in a campus university setting, in Joiner, R., Eds. Rethinking Collaborative Learning.. London: Routledge.
  4. ^ Harnad, Stevan (2005) "Skywritings: Scholarly and Leisurely". Haworth Press website.
  5. ^ Harnad, Stevan (1995) Interactive Cognition: Exploring the Potential of Electronic Quote/Commenting, in Gorayska, B. and Mey, J.L., Eds. Cognitive Technology: In Search of a Humane Interface, pages pp. 397-414. Elsevier.
  6. ^ Schraefel, M. C., Carr, L., De Roure, D. and Hall, W. (2004) You've Got Hypertext. Journal of Digital Information (JoDI), 5 (1.253)