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Read the article by Wardrip-Fruin "What hypertext Is" and summarize it in 400-500

words. In your summary:


Relate to the main points of the article, especially to information that was
new to you;
Suggest whether you would now change any of your or others' entries in the
Brainstorming Hypertext Mindmap;
Include an opinion about why a historical approach to defining and
understanding hypertext is or is not important or relevant to you personally.

Since it coined in 1963 by Ted Nelson, hypertext like other terms has taken in a variety of
different directions being spearhead by literary and computer science/hypertext research
communities. Ted Nelson defined hypertext as a body of written or pictorial material
interconnected in such a complex way that it could not conveniently be presented or
represented on paper. Before reading the given article, I wrote in a lecture note that
Hypertext came from two words-hyper and text to literally mean a text beyond or
over linear or sequential text. Hypertext is therefore any presentation of
information that has multiple paths through appropriate links. Hence it could be
read or presentation either linearly or non-linearly as the reader or presenter
wants. It is easier to implement hypertext in electronic form or media.
I had the perception that hypertext is due to the invention of World Wide Web not
knowing that the former predates the later. Since I couldnt comprehend how one can
implement hypertext without the web or a table structure.
Our background, profession and others influence us with regards to the way we analysis
and comprehend things. Therefore the definition of hypertext by both communities is
valid. The literary communities define hypertext as medium that uses hyperlinks to
connect directly different parts of a text together. This enables the reader to purposefully
determine the unfolding of the text by clicking on these links, that bring to the screen
other segments of text. Until I read the article, I did share the same opinion though
different from that from the hypertext research community. The computer science
community defines hypertext in terms associating of information to build knowledge.
This is quite complex but richer from my opinion since it requires understanding from the
reader. Both communities differ from the original Nelsons definition.
The two forms of hypertext that Nelson identified are discrete or navigational
hypertexts and stretchtext. Discrete hypertext means forms of writing, which branch
or perform on request; they are best presented on computer display screens. Discrete, or
chunk style, hypertexts consist of separate pieces of text connected by links. Stretchtext
gives more control to the reader in determining what level of detail to read at. Authors
write content to several levels of detail in a work.

The main different between discrete hypertext and stretchtext are while the former uses
links to branch on request, the later uses no links instead making a non- branching
performance. That is in discrete hypertexts, following a link replaces the page with a new
page. But in stretchtext, following a link expands a passage or collapses an expanded
passage. Stretchtext retains the interactivity of hypertext, but limits the disruption that
accompanies link traversal

The discrete hypertext is what is commonly referred to as hypertext in common parlance
especially via hyperlinks on the web but in stretchtext is uncommon but very useful
because of it capability to hide details and unhide it when the user ask for it.
The inclusion of historical approach to defining and understanding hypertext is important
and relevant not only because it broadens our future but also because widens our horizon.
This enables us to place hypertext in the correct perspective of past, present and future.
Without history, one cant appreciate the evolution of the definition of hypertext.