There is always a big difference between being a local and being an alien, being on your own turf and being on somebody else's, enjoying your privacy and appearing in public, feeling at home and knowing that you are out of place. So it is on the Net, as well, but the game gets some new rules: structures of access and exclusion are reconstrued in entirely nonarchitectural terms (if we continue to define architecture as materially constructed form), and you enter and exit places not by physical travel, but by simply establishing and breaking logical linkages.
The city of New York is famous/notorious for its regular grid pattern that has been imposed since 1811. Many New Yorkers themselves cannot master the complexities of this system, so in their usual dealings they usually include cross-street references along with avenue addresses and rely on the Manhatten Address Locator. Imagine Cyberspace having all such characteristics of confusion, and more.
Cyberspace has its 'streets', or more commonly known as paths - a sequence of nodes and links taken while navigating the network. In cyberspace, a peripatetic has to be familiar with the kind of orientation lingo below. A link is the traversable connection between two nodes. An anchor is the visible region which must be selected to activate the link. These may vary in size from one word to the entire contents of the node. For example, in this current node, the word "nodes" in the first sentence is an anchor. In theory, anchors may overlap; in practice, most systems insist on their being distinct, in order to make the underlying mechanics simpler. The granularity of link destinations is an important qualifier. Some systems support only basic links, eg. those which connect two nodes without specific anchors. Source anchors are available in almost all hypertext systems. Destination anchors allow a particular region of a node to be addressed; this becomes the focus when the link is traversed. For multi-screen nodes, this is a helpful feature. However, destination anchors are supported in only some hypertext systems. More often, the entire destination node is referenced, and the reader is placed at the beginning of the text. This may result in disorientation, particularily if more than a screenful of text must be traversed before the passage relevant to the link is discovered.

back backhome forward