Rebooting Electronic Literature, Volume 2: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media

Photos of Stephanie Strickland's "True North"

Stephanie Strickland's True North was published by Eastgate Systems Inc. in 1997. The purpose of this chapter is to inform the reader of contents that came with the work (including the folio, CD-ROM and paper booklet) through textual descriptions and imagery.

Folio, Front

True North is contained within a 9 inch by 16 inch folio. The folio is in a fairly good condition overall, with the occasional scratch and softening of the edges. The cover of Stephanie Strickland’s True North is sky blue with small black dotted lines scattered across it. A black image hides the majority of the cover, and presses against the bottom right side. The image shows a snow-covered plain with mountains in the distance. The top of the image reads “TRUE NORTH” in bold white letters. Above the image says “Stephanie Strickland” in black letters over the sky blue background.

Folio, Back

The back of the folio is the same sky blue color as the front, with identical black dotted lines randomly dispersed across it. A gray rectangular section contains a description of the work and the authors bio:
Paragraph 1
Stephanie Strickland sweeps poetry into hypertext. Tumbling ideas, histories, numbers, maps, and legends into a passionate meditation on navigation, this award-winning poet explores all that is involved in finding “true” north.
Paragraph 2
Transmuting worlds, lives, and idioms into a powerful whole, Strickland brings together Bell’s Theorem, quaternions, Noah Webster, Mother Goose, laser gyroscopes, the lives of Emily Dickinson and Josiah Willard Gibbs, the Amistad mutiny, and the MX missile, to tap a human voice deep within universal abstraction.
Paragraph 3 [Italics]
“A quintessentially American piece… The poetry is arresting, to eye and mind, each text a fitted niche in itself. Here is a perception of the world filtered through the lenses of contemporary science, but with such an elegant, incisive way of rendering, not only this world, but a sense of it, a spin on it, a spiraling out from it, into perceptions, feelings, and an encompassing geo-ecological moral outlook.” ⁠—Paul Harris 

Paragraph 4
Awarded both the 1997 Ernest Sandeen Poetry Prize and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, the print version of True North was published in 1997 by the University of Notre Dame Press.
Paragraph 5
Stephanie Strickland is also the author of The Red Virgin: A Poem of Simone Weil (1993), awarded the Brittingham Prize, Give the Body Back (1991), and What’s Become of Eden (editor, 1994). Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, American Letters & Commentary, Ploughshares, and the Electronic Book Review. She lives in New York City.

The following content is placed underneath the gray space, with a black line above it. A sticker near the bottom left of the folio’s back reads “PLEASE NOTE: This title is now on CD for Windows and Macintosh.” Hidden behind the sticker are empty bubbles beside two options: “For Windows or Macintosh.” [This has been verified by comparing it to other copies.]  The text right below this text reads “Requires 2 MB free RAM and a hard disk drive. Eastgate’s logo is placed on the bottom left side of the folio, which is a brick wall with an ornate passageway in black outlines. To the right of the logo reads the following:

"Eastgate Systems INC [Each letter in INC are arranged like a staircase, with I in the top left, N underneath it in the center, and C in the bottom right.]
134 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02172

To the left of the logo reads:
(800) 562-1638
(617) 924-9044
FAX (617) 924-9051

To the right of the logo and company information is the ISBN number, printed in a white box and displayed as bar code. The ISBN number is recorded on the left side of the box as “ISBN 1-884511-36-8.” 

Folio, Spine

The spine is sky blue and covered in the small black marking found on the back and cover. The far left of the spine reads “Stephanie Strickland,” the center says “True North,” and the far right reads “Eastgate Systems, Inc.”

Folio, Inside, Opened
The folio’s interior contains two pockets (one on each side) for containing a CD ROM and a booklet. The left page contains promotions for hypertextual poetry including Sea Island by Edward Falco, A Life Set for Two by Robert Kendall, The Barrier Frames and Diffractions Through by Jim Rosenberg, and its name was Penelope by Judy Malloy. Underneath the advertisements is the copyright information regarding Eastgate Systems Inc. The right page provides an advertisement for the Storyspace hypertext authoring system.

The CD ROM is compatible with both Macintosh and Windows computers. The disc is a burgundy color, with “Eastgate” written in white on the left side. White circles emanate outward from the center of the disc to the bottom right.


CD Sleeve, Front
The CD ROM is contained within a simple white sleeve. Part of the label on the back folds over on the front, which reads: “Copyright © 1997 by Stephanie Strickland. Software copyright © 1992-97 by Eastgate Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized distribution or sale of this material is expressly prohibited.”

CD Sleeve, Back
The label on the back of the sleeve has been broken. The label is white with burgundy text. Top and center is the artist’s name “Stephanie Strickland,” with “TRUE NORTH” written underneath. A thick burgundy line reads “SERIOUS HYPERTEXT from”, which is followed by Eastgate Systems’ copyright information. The bottom left of the label display’s Eastgate Systems’ logo, which is a brick wall with an ornate passageway. To the right of the logo reads “Eastgate Systems I N C” (with the letters in INC arranged reminiscent to a descending staircase,) “134 Main St., Watertown, MA 02172,” and “(800) 562-1638 (617) 924-9044” at the bottom.


Booklet, Front
The front of the booklet is identical to the folio’s cover, though it is printed in black and white. The pages are comprised of sheets of paper stock stapled together.

Booklet, Back
The back of the booklet reads “QUESTIONS?” top and center. The paragraph underneath says “If you have any questions, or any technical problems reading True North, please contact us here at Eastgate so we can help:” Next comes Eastgate Systems’ contact information, which is as follows:

Left-hand side
“(800) 562-1638
(617) 924-9044
FAX (617) 924-9051
Eastgate Systems’ logo is placed in the center, which is a brick wall with an ornate passageway in black outlines.

Right-hand side
“Eastgate Systems I N C [The letters in INC are displayed as a descending staircase]
134 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Booklet, Software License Agreement, Warranty and Disclaimer, Copyright Information & Dedication
The first page presents the software licence agreement, warranty and disclaimer, and copyright information for Eastgate Systems Inc. The second page contains the dedication, which reads “To Diane Greco, with my deepest gratitude for work of hands, heart, and head unstintingly given. I would also like to acknowledge the great generosity of Deena Larsen and Marjorie Luesebrink; and again, Katherine Hayles, for her invaluable seminar on electronic literature.”

Booklet, Blank Page and Table of Contents
The left page is blank. A table of contents is placed on the right page.

Non-Numbered Page and Page 3
The left page is blank. The right page contains the installation instructions for True North on the Macintosh.

Booklet, Booklet, Page 4 and Page 5

Page 4 is a continuation of the installation instructions for True North on the Macintosh, specifically for installing fonts and starting up the application. Page 5 contains Windows installation instructions for True North

Booklet, Page 6 and Page 7
Page 6 is a continuation of the Windows installation instructions. Page 7 provides the reading instructions of True North for Macintosh. This includes the icons and buttons used for navigation.

Booklet, Page 8 and Page 9
Page 8 includes information about the “Lodestone” button, which is at the bottom right of each text space that when clicked, will bring up links to the MAP, INDEX, HOME, and CONTENTS sections. The bottom of this page begins to describe how to follow links using the command and option keys. Page 9 continues this link discussion.

Booklet, Page 10 and Page 11
Page 10 explains that because the translation from Storyspace to Macintosh doesn’t reflect the author’s intentions, six “True Maps” are provided by the author to illustrate the structure and relations within True North. Page 11 begins the reading instructions for the Windows version of True North.

Booklet, Page 12 and Page 13
Page 12 illustrates an example of text windows within the Windows version of True North, as well as the functions of the “Links” and back arrow icons. Page 13 provides information regarding the “bookmarks,” “notes,” and “history” icons.

Booklet, Page 14 and Page 15
Page 14 shows users how to use the navigation menu for searching by word or phrase. Page 15 presents four variations of map windows: Storyspace map views, Chart views, Outline views, and Treemap views.


Booklet, Page 16 and Page 17
Page 16 instructs users how to open up a new map window. Page 17 describes the functions of emblematic maps.

Booklet, Page 18 and Page 19
Page 18 provides a helpful hints section, which suggests adjusting monitor resolution to increase visibility, resizing the window, hitting F12 on the keyboard to bring up a new text window from a map view, and so on. Page 19 contains Stephanie Strickland’s bio, which is as follows:

"Stephanie Strickland is the author of many other works. Her books include The Red Virgin: A Poem of Simone Weil (1993), awarded the Brittingham Prize, Give the Body Back (1991), and What's Become of Eden (editor, 1994). The print edition of True North was awarded the 1997 Ernest Sandeen Poetry Prize, and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America.
"Her poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, American Letters & Commentary, Ploughshares, and the Electronic Book Review. Of her many awards, Stephanie Strickland was recently a 1998 49th Parallel Poetry Award Finalist, and was awarded a 1997 New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. She lives in New York City." 

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