Re: Is Hypertext More Productive?

Subject: Re: Is Hypertext More Productive?
From: Steve Owens <uso01 -at- EAGLE -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 1994 13:33:53 +0700

Just a few quick comments on the question of the relative merits of hypertext:

1) Hypertext will not be able to truly take the place of the current
functions of paper UNTIL the display medium (computer screens) is
as ubiquitous as paper.

When I have as much resolution, as much area, as much portability,
as much customizability, with a computer screen as with paper, I'll
be able to use hypertext instead of paper in all of its roles -
when I can see the fine details, when I can spread the information
out across my desk, pin it up on a wall, fold it up, carry it in my
pocket and read it on the bus.

Until then, hypertext can only be useful in a limited role - and in
some of those roles it will be *very* useful, if done properly.

2) Most of what is sold as hypertext is not truly hypertext, because the
necessary amount of work is not invested in the production of the

Hypertext is not simply the concept of being able to click on a button
or an icon and move to another section of the text.

Hypertext is the concept being able to click on ANY term/image/key
concept/diagram/whatever, and move to a pertinent section of the
text - and from thence to click on another term/image/key concept/
diagram/whatever and go to yet another section.

3) The criteria for judging whether a document is well-hyperlinked is the
same as the criteria for judging whether a document is well-indexed.

Hypertext is essentially the automation of the normal process every
reader goes through with paper documents - see a term/concept/image/
diagram, look it up in the index, go to the page referenced. Hypertext
is an attempt to make this action as easy and natural as breathing.
Should that term be hyperlinked? If you would have marked it for
indexing, yes.

Steven J. Owens
uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com

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