Rethinking The Academy:

Native Hypertext

"Native Hypertext" is the descriptor for texts that have been conceived of, and that are distributed by their creators, via electronic means. Their salient characteristic is that they were never intended for use in a print medium. Such texts include a large number of hypertext links and as a result cannot effectively be "printed out" by readers. That is, they are comprised of texts in which the reader can jump between a number of files - or even servers - and that may, and often do, exist in small chunks called lexia or nodes, such as this one. Native hypertext is not necessarily limited to the World Wide Web though that is one of the leading methods of distributing hypertexts.

Other solutions do exist - for instance, Microsoft Word 6.0 for Windows supports hypertext links between Word documents allowing for the distribution of hypertexts on diskette, as does Adobe Acrobat Reader, which allows writers to create electronic documents that include the possibility of full formatting and hypertextuality.

One of the leading proponents of native hypertext is Mick Doherty, who argues strongly for the creation and dissemination of native hypertext and who is the editor of a journal named Kairos which specializes in the publication of hypertext as a serious scholarly activity in the face of the bias towards print publication in the academy.

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Last Modified: August 2, 1996

Copyright 1996 by Keith Dorwick