WWW webpages, and when only a letter will do

WWW webpages, and when only a letter will do

It may surprise readers, it has certainly surprised us (Emilia and me), that the WWW website now has 500 pages, in fact exactly 500 pages, on it. We know that the website has a lot on it, and we certainly endeavour to keep things up-to-date and to continually add new data and analysis, but we hadn’t realised quite how well-stocked it is! And as this screenshot also shows, we are almost at the capacity assigned to the website by the University of Edinburgh; but fear not, for Emilia is extremely good at talking more memory space out of the computer support staff. Also, we expect a lot of the material presently there to be transferred to the new research website at HRI Digital.

Letters have been in the British news over the last few days, one letter specifically, shown here. This is dated and was sent 2 January 2018 by the Mayor of Liverpool to a government Minister in the Home Office and has received much publicity as it was released on Twitter as well. As this photograph of his letter, posted attached to a Twitter message from the Mayor, shows, it is a personal letter, but also a political and public one at the same time. With an international horse show going on, a Liverpool carpark was filled to the brim with vehicles and also one floor with horses. A fire started and could not be contained; and although no people or animals were hurt, hundreds of if not thousands of vehicles were destroyed. Funding cuts are said by the Mayor to be responsible because the fire service budget was slashed and fewer fire engines were available. and he needs ministerial guidance on how to handle certain technical aspects as well.

There are times, it seems, when only a letter will do, such as when one person wants to address another and make a particular point in a particular way to perform a particular purpose and for this to have some kind of formal presence. Released in such a public way, and containing very specific requests and an invitation, it has been designed insofar as this is possible to guarantee a response. This letter also suggests something about ‘the ends’ of letters, that a letter can shade into public forms and also into things that are on the letterness edge, like Twitter feeds.

Last updated: 4 January 2018