I study mediated writing processes -- how people use stuff like software and Post-It notes while writing. I see two main ways in which we do this:
- Textual Reuse: In the Age of Information, we recycle vast amounts of our own writing. Any time I have to send a letter, I open up the last letter I sent and modify it to become the new letter.
- Textual Coordination: People spend a lot of time and energy managing existing texts to help them produce new ones. While writing, we put books and papers all around our computers. On screen, we save and carefully place old documents and email, all with the intention of perhaps needing to refer to them to help us do something else later. I believe these management practices are crucial to writing.
You can also visit my academic site:
http://www.rpi.edu/~slatts/ [Update: Now http://condor.depaul.edu/~sslatte1/]
I'll be posting my developing thoughts on these topics and examples of these processes that I find "in the wild." Feel free to let me know of any you find.