Storyspace is a hypertext system for the Macintosh which has been designed specifically for writers. It was created by Jay David Bolter, a classicist currently teaching at the Georgia Institute of Technology; John B. Smith, professor of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina; and Michael Joyce. A glance at our bibliography will reveal the depth of their commitment to research in this area. Though programmed for Riverrun Inc., Storyspace is currently being developed at Eastgate Systems, under the supervision of Mark Bernstein.
Storyspace follows Bolter's terminology in calling nodes writing spaces. These are displayed as scrollable windows on a desktop which includes the usual Mac pull-down menus and a toolbar. Writing spaces may contain text, graphics, sound, or video. They also act as containers for other writing spaces; in this way, clusters are supported. Text-editing features are unfortunately minimal. While font control is simple, paragraph and style formatting are not available.
Writing spaces may be viewed in one of three configurations. The Storyspace View displays nodes in a global map, the Outline View shows a vertical list of node names, and the Chart View displays them in a horizontal flow chart. A magnification tool allows one to zoom in on an area of particular interest. Navigation is as easy as point and click. Basic links may be made by drawing a line between two nodes and typing a label. Anchored links, indicated by a box around the text, are almost as effortless, requiring only that the anchor text is highlighted. These boxes may be made visible momentarily through a simple key combination. Though only reference links are available, a note tool automates annotation by combining the few steps that would otherwise be made manually.
A local map is provided through the Roadmap menu item. Paths may be named and saved, though there is no provision for playing them back as an automated tour. If there is more than one link from a node, priorities may be assigned to them by using "guard fields." The manual explains:
Guard fields allow the author to embed an intelligence in their hyperbook without the necessity of a scripting language. Access to links may depend on whether a reader has previously visited a given writing space, or selected a specific anchor. Boolean connectives are provided.
Writing spaces may hold only 32,000 characters. This
is sufficient for most purposes, but is a limitation when importing
from existing works. Storyspace forces you to split files into separate
nodes every 25,000 bytes. The user can make this number smaller, or
choose to split after every paragraph, but neither of these choices
permits a natural break between chapters or other units. However, a
separate command does allow nodes to be split based on a given delimiter.
It would be useful if this facility was available when importing. Storyspace
uses XTND translaters to read and write external file formats. It comes
packaged with one for MacWrite.