Theory: "opportunistic hypertext"

36 views
Skip to first unread message

Jorn Barger

unread,
Jan 15, 2001, 11:27:35 AM1/15/01
to
Ivory-tower theories of hypertext normally imagine _one_ author creating
a unified hypertext from many custom-built sub-pages.

But TimBL's inspiration was that any Net resource should be linkable...
so the game for hypertext design changes completely, to one of:

offering others' resources at the appropriate points in your page.
^^^^^^

The best design strategy is to actually _use_ your pages and notice
where a link would be useful, if someone wants to dig deeper on a given
topic. You can safely include hundreds and hundreds of links, if you
keep the linktext minimal-- what I call 'text buttons'.


Some of my favorite reliably-linkable resources: (specific examples at
http://www.robotwisdom.com/jaj/timeline.html )


custom calendars: http://www.earth.com/calendar?1904

custom maps: http://maps.excite.com/

out-of-print books: http://www.bibliofind.com/ or
http://dogbert.abebooks.com

realaudio samples of songs: www.amazon.com

encyclopedia articles: http://www.eb.com/

dictionary definitions: http://www.m-w.com/

etexts: http://www.robotwisdom.com/web/etexts.html

pictures (many sources)


--
http://www.robotwisdom.com/ "Relentlessly intelligent
yet playful, polymathic in scope of interests, minimalist
but user-friendly design." --Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Eric Jarvis

unread,
Jan 15, 2001, 12:34:13 PM1/15/01
to
on Mon, 15 Jan 2001 10:27:35 -0600, jo...@mcs.com wrote...

> Ivory-tower theories of hypertext normally imagine _one_ author creating
> a unified hypertext from many custom-built sub-pages.
>
> But TimBL's inspiration was that any Net resource should be linkable...
> so the game for hypertext design changes completely, to one of:
>
> offering others' resources at the appropriate points in your page.
> ^^^^^^
>
> The best design strategy is to actually _use_ your pages and notice
> where a link would be useful, if someone wants to dig deeper on a given
> topic. You can safely include hundreds and hundreds of links, if you
> keep the linktext minimal-- what I call 'text buttons'.
>

agreed...up to a point

for satisfaction alone I would like to build pages with links to just
about everything...in fact, I started by doing exactly that because it
seemed the smart way to use the technology...however, there is another
aspect to links

most users of the web are both inexperienced and short of
confidence...so for the moment, when I'm building professionally, I
try to avoid adding large number of links in the content of a page...I
can cope with reading a page that is built to use hypertext to the
full, in fact I find it more natural than reading a book (I tend to
read books with an Atlas and a Dictionary handy)...but most users of
the web find it difficult

in the long term I think we'll move towards building much more with
link buttons even in the commercial world...but for the present it
creates too many problems

--
eric
"live fast, die only if strictly necessary"

Andy Dingley

unread,
Jan 15, 2001, 9:21:01 PM1/15/01
to
Eric Jarvis <webm...@befrienders.org> a écrit :

>for satisfaction alone I would like to build pages with links to just
>about everything.

Have you seen the Wiki Wiki Web ? (*)

It's basically a large bucket, into which you pour pages. Some pages
are marked as being the "definition" of a term. Whenever a page is
served, all of the occurrences of a defined term are turned into links
to its defining page.

In some ways it's extremely ugly, and the single-level of significance
makes it almost impossible to "see the wood for the trees", but it's
an interesting idea.

(*) I think this was a song & dance routine in the film "Delicatessen"


--
Cats have nine lives, which is why they rarely post to Usenet.

Chris Beggy

unread,
Jan 20, 2001, 12:15:11 PM1/20/01
to
Andy Dingley <din...@codesmiths.com> writes:

> Eric Jarvis <webm...@befrienders.org> a écrit :
>
> >for satisfaction alone I would like to build pages with links to just
> >about everything.
>
> Have you seen the Wiki Wiki Web ? (*)
>
> It's basically a large bucket, into which you pour pages. Some pages
> are marked as being the "definition" of a term. Whenever a page is
> served, all of the occurrences of a defined term are turned into links
> to its defining page.
>

I am glad this came up.

Wiki also has the great advantage that *yet to be linked* terms are
marked as such. These *yet to be linked* links serve a page which can
be edited to create a definition, discussion, or explanation page.

> In some ways it's extremely ugly, and the single-level of significance
> makes it almost impossible to "see the wood for the trees", but it's
> an interesting idea.

As the wiki develops, a graphical hyperlinked representation of
nodes and traversal paths (links) is dynamically generated.

Some extraction, indexing, report generation, compile and linking...
something might solve the "see the wood for the trees" criticism.

> (*) I think this was a song & dance routine in the film
> "Delicatessen"

Maybe so, but the author at http://c2.com/cgi/wiki offers Wiki as
the Hawaiian word for fast, quick.

In addition to playing with wiki as a collaborative format, I'm testing wiki
as a diary format. It seems excellent for improving the value of
diarying and note-taking in general.

Wiki seems to have fantastic possibilities for institutional informal
knowledge base creation. Imagine a trouble ticket system
incorporating wiki...

Chris

Andy Dingley

unread,
Jan 21, 2001, 5:39:04 PM1/21/01
to
Chris Beggy <chr...@kippona.com> a écrit :

>Wiki seems to have fantastic possibilities for institutional informal
>knowledge base creation.

I'm very interested in the notion of the "Semantic Wiki"

IMHO, the one-layer structure of Wiki is where the problem lies, and
what it needs is some form of classification system. Imagine a
document containing nodes (potential linking terms) where each node
can also have membership in various sets (defined by a human).
Floating over the Wiki browser is a toolbar (or somesuch) allowing the
user to select the set that is currently highlighted as the links. The
set of available sets is selected according to those on the page (even
if hidden) and their ordering arrangement is modified according to a
"closeness" that's expressed in the listing of the sets.


>Imagine a trouble ticket system
>incorporating wiki...

Sounds terrible. All problems with "modem" would be interlinked, no
matter what the cause.

Whats needed here (IMHO) is more of a "hidden variables" approach. We
may not see on-screen the sub-term that defines the link ("WinModems -
spawn of Evil") but it cuts down the linkage to those that are really
worth linking.

Jerry Muelver

unread,
Jan 21, 2001, 7:39:00 PM1/21/01
to
On Tue, 16 Jan 2001 02:21:01 +0000, Andy Dingley
<din...@codesmiths.com> wrote:

>Eric Jarvis <webm...@befrienders.org> a écrit :
>
>>for satisfaction alone I would like to build pages with links to just
>>about everything.
>
>Have you seen the Wiki Wiki Web ? (*)
>
>It's basically a large bucket, into which you pour pages. Some pages
>are marked as being the "definition" of a term. Whenever a page is
>served, all of the occurrences of a defined term are turned into links
>to its defining page.
>
>In some ways it's extremely ugly, and the single-level of significance
>makes it almost impossible to "see the wood for the trees", but it's
>an interesting idea.
>

I just caught the wikiwiki bug today. I downloaded and
installed Twiki, then UseMod, on two different test sites to
find out what it was all about. I'm hooked, really bad. I'm
going to put a wiki up on an intranet, to get web-clueless
corporate newbies working on collaborative docs and
large-scope thinking. Next big hobby project will be an
Esperanto wiki. The search facility built into most
wikiclones would make a FAQ wiki (HTML, CSS, XML, XSLT, and
scads of scripting languages) a very interesting prospect.
This could make the Web fun again.

---- jerry
--

Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages