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"Text" as a medium was generally listed linearly in presentation media before the days of the World Wide Web. This linearity meant that the text had to be read in a way equivalent to a papyrus scroll or in a book "page by page", in sequence. In long texts of several hundred pages, this linearity was criticized because such a text consisted of many connected parts that were scattered throughout the text. These are barely connected in plein text, but can be recognized once it has been read cover to cover. In 1965, Ted Nelson had the idea of creating a non-linear knowledge database of unlimited size. His visions are the basis of current research on hypertext. When the desire to link individual hypertext projects globally emerged in the early 1990s, the World Wide Web was born. Currently hypertext is used strictly on computers, since they meet the requirements in an excellent way. Hypertext is typically created in HTML, the hypertext markup language.


In principle, highly structured books contain all the characteristics that are also found in hypertext: hierarchical structures (section and subchapter), link items (cross-references) and different approaches to information (content page, indexes). The difference is in the presentation. Despite its "hypertext properties" on the outside, a book has to be worked linearly page by page. The hypertext, which is presented on the screen, break this linearity and allows browsing of smaller, linked bits of information. In this way, it suggests that you should not read it from cover to cover. The hypertext is organized in such a way that the information is fragments into individual units, which is then intelligently networked.

Hypertext, hypermedia and multimedia

At the same time as pure information, hypertext also includes entertainment. This is mainly reflected in the visual media, such as images or videos. In this way, hypertext became hypermedia. Hypermedia are distinguished from multimedia because multimedia is "many media at once." Hypermedia, on the other hand, means "many media, but structured in a manner equivalent to hypertext." The prefix Hyper it means the particular way of dividing the information and connecting it sensibly. It consists of an attempt to avoid overstimulation generated by multimedia content.