2 AUGUST 1997


In typography "tracking" is the uniform space between letters and words. When you set the tracking you squeeze or expand all this space by some percentage of a point. There are about 72 points to an inch so a half or quarter point space is very small yet when added to an entire text the difference can be significant and a text can be made to fit within or fill a bordered area.

Computer typsetting makes this possible in print. HTML makes it (at this time) impossible to do on Web pages, which is odd since "tracking" is a form of counting that computers are very good at. Specific words are tracked in single texts or across the internet by search engines that count and match words.

In the excerpt at left the reporter is being tracked by the military while she is tracking a story that will likely be submitted to some form of tracking by a typesetter when it is printed and by a video editor when it is broadcast on CNN. Researchers and historians will track the story in some distant future.

I am tracking my works and days here as they are manifested and must edit down what is possible to include. A complete hypomnemata would include everything that comes into my field of perception during the day and that would, by extension, include everything all the time. I could set the tracking closer, squeeze the data so it fits but that would create a very dense mass. Instead I edit, I distill like an alembic. The distilled entries drip into files and are uploaded to the server in the form of HTML tags and ascii text to be expanded by a browser when called from the server.

Those who read each entry are tracking my works and days along a preset pathway I've created though they have the option of the order and pace they track.

Tracking also means the path of study for students and the path of a career for teachers. A teaching job is said to be "tenure track," meaning that there is a possibility that the teacher will, at some point in the future, be granted the space to persue their area of interest without fear of losing their job. Meanwhile, the track they are on is very narrow and crowded.