Design Issues for Multi-Document Hypertexts

Robert J. Glushko


Vannevar Bush conceived of hypertext as the "computer glue" that binds information from a wide variety of books, documents, communications, and other artifacts to enhance its accessibility and usefulness. However, most of the recent hyper-activity in research labs and in the marketplace falls short of Bush's vision. Most hypertext software is oriented toward hypertext as a new form of writing via incremental combination of bits and pieces of information. These hypertext programs typically provide little support for converting existing information from its more linear printed form, Where hypertexts have been created from existing text, they generally have been converted from a single encyclopedia, a single reference document, or a single system's documentation. Hypertexts that integrate the complete contents of more than one book or large document seem nonexistent, even though the expected benefits from such multi-document hypertexts were the original motivation for the concept.


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