Frames are used in HTML to allow users to view two or more pages simultaneously. Oftentimes they are used in order to facilitate ease of navigation. For instance, in the case of this page, three frames are viewed concurrently. The frame set in the web editor looks like this:

In the case of the page you are looking at now, the top frame is only used to contain a header but it could contain anything that any web page might contain--including more frames within more frames. The left hand frame is the same way and here contains a toolbar of links to all of the pages in this site. When you click on a link in the toolbar, the new page opens up in the larger lower right-hand corner frame (the target) which has been named "Index".

In the case of this page, the frames are being used as a means of anchoring the user's experience of the pages s/he requests to the toolbar navigation system. A page that is laid out in this way, therefore, privileges the concept of stability and fixedness over the equally available alternative provided by an unframed navigation devise such as this:

(absence of mind) alphabet (anchors) anderson (aquariums) arcadesarchitecture (arrivals) assemblage a Une Passante avant-garde (backgrounds) barnes bibliography book (boulevards) canetti centers centers & surfaces chance chance encounters collecting constellations containment copernicus crowds (departures) display dissemination (diversion) dwelling ecclecticism editor (encounters) (end) faulkner flaneur (flaneur-flaneuse) (forces) frames gambling games gibson guide (hieroglyphics) (hyperlinks) index interiority/exteriority (interruption) intoxication (juxtaposition) labyrinths lighting links magic & the sublime maps minotaur (myth) narcissus navigation nodes novelty obsession omission palaces parasite passages passengers (paths) paths & passages poe presence of mind (prospectus) prostheses prostitution quotation (randomness) recreation refrain repetition (ritual) ruins rules search seduction serres (smoothe-striated) space spiders storage strategy structure (surfaces) surrealism (target) text thesis thread threshold traces types underground wandering-figures weather webs wharton zero


Note how this alternative navigation system--the prose like alphabetized list of links designed to open in the same window in which they are clicked--does is not anchored or contained in anyway. Of course, there are other means of providing users with a thread to keep them centered. In the case of the links imbedded into this particular page (i.e.: thread and centered) the anchor effect is made not by maintaining a navigation system in view, but by forcing the linked pages to be opened up in separate windows. This is called a "_blank" target. What it does is in essence create a stack of pages on the user's desktop that can be closed or minimized and saved for later consumption. This way of linking pages is one of the few ways one can emulate the book in web format.

Another way is by using frames to create the illusion of turning pages as opposed to scrolling down.

Another way is to link images of text. This is one way of preserving some of the more endearing aspects of the book form. Example

The Arcades Project Project is part of Heather Marcelle Crickenberger's doctoral dissertation entitled "The Structure of Awakening": Walter Benjamin and Progressive Scholarship in New Media which was defended and passed on June 27, 2007 at the University of South Carolina. The committe members are as follows: John Muckelbauer, Ph.D, Judith James, Ph.D., Dan Smith, Ph.D, Brad Collins, Ph. D., and Anthony Jarrells, Ph.D. Copyright 2007 by Heather Marcelle Crickenberger. All rights reserved. lems concerning what you find here, feel free to contact me at You are also invited to leave a message for me and other visitors HERE. The Arcades Project Project or The Rhetoric of Hypertext