Nelsonian link and node hypertext

In the 1960s Theodor H. Nelson defined hypertext as

  1. a form of electronic text,

  2. a radically new information technology, and

  3. a mode of publication.

"By 'hypertext," Nelson explains, "I mean non-sequential writing -- text that branches and allows choices to the reader, best read at an interactive screen. As popularly conceived, this is a series of text chunks connected by links which offer the reader different pathways [Emphasis added]. I would qualify this statement only by adding that I believe hypertext is best described as as multilinear rather than nonlinear.

Forms of reader empowerment: (1) more reader choice [example: WWW]; (2) readers can add links, comments, entire new texts [example: Brown University's Intermedia, U. of Southampton's Microcosm/Multicosm, Blogs].

Return to lectures by George P. Landow