Hypertext is the presentation of information as a linked network of nodes which readers are free to navigate in a non-linear fashion. It allows for multiple authors, a blurring of the author and reader functions, extended works with diffuse boundaries, and multiple reading paths.
The term "hypertext" was coined by Ted Nelson, who defined it in his self-published Literary Machines as "non-sequential writing" (0/2).
Many subsequent writers have taken hypertext to be a distinctly electronic technology--one which must involve a computer. For example, Janet Fiderio, in her overview "A Grand Vision," writes:
Hypertext, at its most basic level, is a DBMS
that lets you connect screens of information using associative links.
At its most sophisticated level, hypertext is a software environment for
collaborative work, communication, and knowledge acquisition. Hypertext
products mimic the brain's ability to store and retrieve information by
referential links for quick and intuitive access. (237)