Problem Statement

Let’s take the opening sentence of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Before making a single step, I want to catalog a few statements.

  • There exists a book called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
    • This book is by J.K. Rowling (link to her bio)
    • This book has a Reading
    • This Reading is by Steven Harms (link to his web site)
    • It was from date-1 / date-2
    • It had several annotations ( i.e. the “annotation set” )
      1. There exists a place called Privet Drive (a Geographic Place) { page 1 }
      2. Privet Drive has address number 4 { page 1 }
        • 4 Privet Drive is a residence { page 1 }
      3. There exists a character Mr. Dursley (subtype of Fictional Character) { page 1 }
      4. Is married to Mrs. Dursley { page 1 }
      5. Dwells at 4 Privet Drive { page 1 }
      6. There exists a character Mrs. Dursley (subtype of Fictional Character) { page 1 }
      7. Is married to Mr. Dursley { page 1 }
      8. Dwells at 4 Privet Drive { page 1 }
      9. Exists a Marital Relation (subtype of Fictional Character) { page 1 }
      10. Member of: Mr. Dursley { page 1 }
      11. Member of: Mrs. Dursley { page 1 }
      12. Self conceives: “…perfectly normal, thank you very much.” { page 1 }

Here, based on the first sentence of this book we already have a ton of data. By populating each sentence’s facts into the “annotation set,” we should be able to query the set with questions like: “who were the Muggle married couples in the Harry Potter universe?”

This would also be very handy for other complex works of literature, e.g. Infinite Jest:

  • Which drugs did Hal Incandenza take while at the Enfield Tennis Academy?
  • Which page defines the term “eliminate your own map?”

It should also work with other logical works of argumentation:

My rough thought is that such a system should:

  1. Allow you to define a resource (book, title, ISBN, etc.)
  2. Define annotations associated to pages / sections of content. I call these “personal” observations. They’re about the reader’s relationship to the text
    • “Cellar door” : Beautiful Language : Page 3
    • “Luke, I’m your father” : Critical Plot Point : Page 128
    • “The world is all that is the case” : Logic Expression : Page 1
  3. Some annotations contribute to the population of the “ideascape” of the work. I call these “cataloging” observations. By defining e.g. a character, place, item, magical object, whatever, that new item becomes available to other characters, places, items, for becoming related thereto e.g. Character:Luke hasSibling Character: Leia.