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Models for hypertext

By Mark F. Frisse and Steve B. Cousins


Features characteristic of hypertext are no longer the providence of specialized hypertext systems. Interfaces exhibiting the “power of linking ” can be found in soft-ware ranging from document preparation programs to operating systems, providing users with many new ap proaches to individual and group information manage-ment. To take advantage of the new opportunities afforded by this migration, it is important to understand hypertext at representation levels beneath the more superficial aspects of the human-computer interface. Three abstract models for hypertext-representative members of a spectrum of popular formalisms-are pre-sented to provide insight into the meaning and potential of hypertext. Each model represents a different level in the design-decision process necessary for effective hy-pertext development, and each model plays an impor-tant role in development and use of information management software exhibiting hypertext features. Hypertext provides new methods for organizing and presenting information. The technology has been em-ployed to facilitate personal information management, improve use of large information resources, and coordi-nate complex planning tasks. Support for hypertexts and related systems is motivated by a belief that hyper-text can provide more efficient and personalized access to text by complementing the global search techniques of traditional information retrieval systems with focal navigation based on meaningful inter- and intradocu-ment connections or “links ” identified by other means. Informally, hypertext is simply a collection of modu-lar text elements and a set of inter- and intraelement relationships that can be ordered in many ways and used to satisfy a broad range of personalized informa-tion needs. More formally, hypertext is: (1) a database of text; (2) a semantic net which connects text compo-nents; and (3) tools for creating and manipulating this combination of text and semantic net (Conklin, 1987

Year: 1992
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