I touched up an intro to hypertext essays from 2000.

When I initially wrote this introduction to hypertext essays in 2000, my assumption was that readers would be experienced writers who already knew what an essay was, so that I could use that knowledge to differentiate between an ordinary essay and a hypertext essay. By 2017, we are teaching “multimodal composition” in our freshman writing classes. Some of the students come in with great writing skills (and I always tell them to contact their high school teachers and thank them). Others are still developing the critical thinking skills that a composition course is designed to hone. A multimodal composition asks students…

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Hypertext Essays: An Introduction

Jerz > Writing > Electronic Text An ordinary essay is designed to be read one way — from beginning to end. A hypertext essay can be read in many different ways. The ordinary prose essay has been around for hundreds of years; people have had a long time to discover how to write a good one.  But hypertext is a much more recent invention. While the world of business and information technology offers plenty of practical, sensible advice to hypertext authors whose goal is to convey information rapidly and efficiently (see Nielsen’s How Users Read on the Web), there are times…

Why No One Clicked on the Great Hypertext Story

It’s not that hypertext went on to become less interesting than its literary advocates imagined in those early days. Rather, a whole different set of new forms arose in its place: blogs, social networks, crowd-edited encyclopedias. Readers did end up exploring an idea or news event by following links between small blocks of text; it’s just that the blocks of text turned out to be written by different authors, publishing on different sites. Someone tweets a link to a news article, which links to a blog commentary, which links to a Wikipedia entry. Each landing point along that itinerary is…

Why No One Clicked on the Great Hypertext Story

It’s not that hypertext went on to become less interesting than its literary advocates imagined in those early days. Rather, a whole different set of new forms arose in its place: blogs, social networks, crowd-edited encyclopedias. Readers did end up exploring an idea or news event by following links between small blocks of text; it’s just that the blocks of text turned out to be written by different authors, publishing on different sites. —Why No One Clicked on the Great Hypertext Story.

Towards a canon of “hypertext literature / interactive fiction / digital narrative”

Kim asked on Twitter: “Is there a canon for digital narratives / interactive stories / hypertext literature yet? A list of accepted classics and forms?” What followed was a lot of us going “we don’t know”. And I wasn’t exactly helpful, by pointing out that those three things are (in some ways) completely different. But. Nobody got anywhere but not being helpful, and to do so, I’m going to express (a bit) of an opinion, and hopefully something a little absolute. I hate list posts, but let’s put something down for people to argue about. So, specifically: if I had…

The Death of Hypertext?

 “Hypertext.” When I was a college student, I was obsessed with the idea that, some day, we would all be creating and consuming information— not just information, but literature—via portable devices like cell phones, when the hyperlink might become as central to reading and writing as the sentence. Since then, that day has come and gone. There are millions of people out there sporting an iPhone, an Android, a Kindle, an iPad, a netbook, a tablet, what-have-you. This year alone, there has been a doubling of the number of people who e-readers and tablet computers. Since then, nearly everyone I know can communicate…

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Navigation in Hypertext: 10 Writing Tips for Web Authors

Jerz > Writing > E-text We only notice navigation when it doesn’t work. Web authors should follow web design conventions that account for the variety of ways users will try to navigate through their pages. While usability testing is the best way to ensure your site is really operating as you intend it to, this page offers a basic overview of basic navigation principles that most visitors will expect on most pages that they visit.

Hypertext '08: Session 7: Applications of Hypertext

Chair: Ken Anderson (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA)Enhancing Access to Open Corpus Educational Content: Learning in the Wild (Long Paper) Seamus Lawless, Lucy Hederman and Vincent Wade Lack of relevant and accessible digital content hampers the implementation of e-learning. As these eLearning tools begin to try to offer personalization, the tools require access to an increasing amount and variety of content. eLearning educators are compelled to generate their own content, which can be an excessive workload. Trends –content creation moving from the linear authoring of publication to the aggregation of existing; rise of the prosumers, who produce an consume…

Hypertext '08: Session 4: Hypertext, Culture, and Communication

Chair: Mark Bernstein (Eastgate Systems, USA) Information Flows and Social Capital in Weblogs: A Case Study in the Brazilian Blogosphere (Long Paper) Raquel Recuero Qualitative study. Perception is that bloggers are just wasting time, but people have strong personal reasons for blogging. Went quickly through the obligatory background slide… I wonder that this audience might include so many quantitative researchers that she might have spent a bit of time explaining more about ethnography. Again, I’m used to scholarship with a long discursive introduction, so I always feel out of place when presenters rush through their introduction. I’m generally far more…

Hypertext '08: Session 3: Social Linking II: Analysis and Modeling

Chair: Andreas Hotho (Universität Kassel, Germany) The Very Small World of the Well-Connected (Long Paper) Xiaolin Shi, Matthew Bonner, Lada Adamic and Anna Gilbert Matt Bonner is the presenter; this paper won a “best paper” award at the banquet last night. Vertex Important Graph Synopsis. (Promises a definition!) Opening image — “Network or Hairball?” Huge networks are difficult to study and share. To shrink or summarize a network, you create a subgraph of vertices you decide are important. Study these important vertices, and compare their behavior to the rest of the graph. Degree, betweenness, closeness, PageRank.  He’s spending time describing…

Hypertext '08: Jon Kleinberg, Link Structures, Information Flow, and Social Process

John Kleinberg This year’s conference emphasizes social linking and its relation to information linking. A striking slide illustrated the tangled interconnections of online friendships, as opposed to the red and blue nodes that characterize political blogs (with some neutral interconnections).  (Blackstorm-Huttenlocher-Kleinberg-Lan 2006) and (Adamic and Glance 2005) Bridging levels of scale; Zacharly 1977 studying a university karate club in the process of splitting in two.  34 nodes in the social network, 2 years researching each of these nodes, big chunk of a PhD work to investigate the conflict. Compare the 30-year-old study of 34 nodes to the kind of information…

Hypertext '08: Social Linking 1: Link Inference

Chair: Ethan Munson (University of Wisconsin) Dynamic Prediction of Communication Flow Using Social Context (Short Paper)Munmun De Choudhury, Hari Sundaram, Ajita John and Doree Seligmann Estimate intent to communicate and the associated delay. Using MySpace, successful prediction of intent to communicate. [This section is a review of related work, so the speaker is going quickly through material that’s unfamiliar to me… I’m waiting for the statement of the research question and I’m hoping she’ll define her terms… aha! Here are some definitions.] Intent to communicate — the probability that a person will engage in some communication with a person in…

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Hypertext '08 Poster Presentation: Charlie Hargood, A Thematic Model for Narrative Generation

Because I’m unfamiliar with the poster paper genre, my own textual bias made me want to read all the text on the poster before I was ready to listen to the presenter’s explanation.   A couple times I had to tell the eager presenter to give me a minute to take in all the information before they started talking. One poster I had no trouble understanding at a glance was Charlie Hargood’s poster on his narrative generation project. Themes, motifs, connotation, denotation — this is familiar language about storytelling, presenting in the context of a model for generating rich narrative. At…

Hypertext '08: One-Minute Poster Presentations

I don’t attend many science/technology conferences, so the genre of the one-minute poster presentations is brand new to me.  The genre is akin to the haiku or flash fiction — it’s a research paper bared down to the bones.  Flash scholarship?  60-second-scholarship? About 20 people pre-loaded their slides onto the conference room computer, then lined up in the aisle. Each was given one minute to present their ideas. The host had an ooga-ooga horn that he squeezed when the one minute was up. It’s painful to watch someone cut off in mid-sentence, but it’s a fascinating genre. Plus, this one-minute…

Hypertext '08: Bernardo Huberman, Social Dynamics in the Age of the Web

Today’s keynote: Brughel painting showing the social dynamics of a village festival. Grounded the talk with a presentation of statistics on user-generated content (Facebook, MySpace, etc.), noting that whether those users are interacting with one another is another question. Noted that his research is observational rather than experimental, and that he won’t be able to go into detail, because rather his overservations will focus on what we can learn from the large number of users. Noted that until recently, most content was created by a few and consumed by many. Noted the “remarkable inversion” in the creation of content. Wikipedia…

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Hypertext '08: Literatronica. Adaptive Digital Narrative :: Juan B. Gutierrez, and Mark C. Marino

Literatronica: Juan: Empower the computer to be part of the literary transaction… mathematical literature. Mathematical literature — not the syntatic approach, using mathematical language to describe a story. Not a semantic approach, using theorems to define stories. Lexicographic Hypertext — basic HTML with nodes connected via links.  We navigate through the network to get from the beginning to an ending. Tree fiction — constructing a narrative through choosing options. Adaptive Fiction — the computer delivers chunks based on what the user knows about the story world.   Same lexia, but the links to continue reading is different based on what the…

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Hypertext '08: Chris Crawford — Deikto: An Application of the Weak Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Chris Crawford has been working on Storytron for 16 years. The computer gaming industry was not intersted in or able to solve the problem of interactive storytelling. Left the gaming industry to solve that problem on his own. Has been explaining Storytron for 10 years, says that during that time he has “failed miserably.”  About 2-3 months ago, someone said “The problem with your technology is that it’s revolutionary,” in the sense that it’s too much change coming too fast, requiring conceptual leaps that people can’t handle. The major leaps Chris had to go through: “People, not Things!”  Entertainment or…

Hypertext '08: Dene Crigar, Hyperlinking in 3D Multimedia Performances

Dene joined us remotely from her lab in Vancouver, demonstrating multimedia works that are performed through hyperlinks triggered by a performer’s actions in a 3D space.  The demonstration is intended to challenge the notions of a hyperlink as a silent component of a 2D work. First demonstration — Virtual DJ.   Spinning circles of light seem to track the performer as she moves a motion-tracking controller in 3D space.  Four cameras track down on a 9x9x9 space; we saw 8 maps of “Level 1,” the music and lights are located in different directions, so one has to remember where each…