Karin Wenz, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kassel

Not only reader instructions, but also the structure of textual coherence reflect the cognitive order of the author's knowledge. Textual coherence is apparent in semantic recurrence and reinforced by the device of summarizing. However, coherence is not only provided by the author, but also created by the reader in the act of reading. The construction of coherence depends on the reader's knowledge, interest, and the time he or she will spend with the text. In hypertext, coherence has to be created by the user in the act of reading, and therefore it is not totally different from traditional forms of reading. The reading paths of the user are linear and they are constructed in the process of reading. The connection between the different entities or chunks is associative and guided by the reader's interests. The chunks of a hypertext themselves are passages of traditional texts. The difference to traditional texts lies in the fact that cohesion between different nodes is avoided because the user has the possibility to come to one node through different paths. "A node is something through which other things pass, and which is created by their passage" (Slatin 1991: 162). Coherence in hypertext is nothing else than the reader's performance of constructing a connection which is governed by metatextual instructions so that the reader is able to perceive the pattern that connects.