Hypertext and Linking

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When I first read Bolter, Wikipedia was the first thing that came to mind. I must admit that I am an avid user of Wikipedia. It is my preferred method of learning about new topics and finding answers to questions that I may have. Why have I, among many others, found Wikipedia to be such a great source of information? Why is it so easy to use? The answer: hypertext.

Hypertext links information together in an organized and logical manner. While I have always considered hypertext to purely be a thing of the World Wide Web, it was interesting to discover that the precursors to hypertext -- as we know it -- were not digital at all. For instance, dictionaries and encyclopedias are both examples of a pre-digital forms of hypertext. Whether digital or not, hypertext disrupts the linear tradition (Bolter, 32). While reading an encyclopedia, one does not read it front to back. In fact, this traditional print form of communication mirrors what we see in today's Wikipedia.

According to David Bolter, "hypertext has become an integral feature of our culture's reading and writing" (40). Since so much of our communication is now done online, it is not shocking that all the medium that easily allow hypertext are increasingly popular. For instance, blogs have quickly become popular -- 30% of the world population blogs. Digital hypertext has allowed us to create an expansive "information web," which could have never taken place in print.

Digital hypertext has expanded our ability to communicate.

1 Comment

Hi Amy,

Great observation about hypertext expanding our ability to communicate. I agree with the comments you are making here. They also fit with Bolter's description of digital text being more flexible and responsive--dynamic, in a word, than print text. Access continues to be an issue, but those who do have access to Internet have so many ways to communicate digitally. Keep doing a great job reflecting on the ideas in the readings!

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This page contains a single entry by gross451 published on January 31, 2010 9:11 PM.

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