Frank Shipman and Cathy Marshall's spatial hypertext

Most computer scientists who work with spatial hypertext see it as hypertext without links — hypertext (or hypermedia) in which the spatial arrangement of documents reveals relationships among them. In systems like VIKI, Aquanet, and the authoring environment of Storyspace, users can nest documents and rearrange them.

A form of spatial hypertext also appears in hypertext fiction: Here Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl, which uses the Storyspace reader, gatherings of lexias about the stitched-together nature of the female Frankenstein monster reside in a different folder or directory than those comprising Shelley Jackson's collage lexias composed of various texts from Jacques Derrida, L. Frank Baum, and Mary Shelley. This is Spatial Hypertext.

These discrete sections join in variations on the themes of text, stitched-together-ness, coherence, origins, and identity. As this example of gaps unjoined by links makes clear, not all connections in effective hypertext require electronic connections -- like non-hypertextual prose and poetry, hypertext also makes use of allusions, metaphors, and implicit parallels.

Forms of reader empowerment: (1) readers can use sitemaps — here the Storyspace view — to explore their own connections; (2) conceives a new form of text that consists of reader-created collages.

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