Of Two Minds Review -- Hypertext and Hypermedia

This essay gives and encyclopedic definition of hypertext and hypermedia. A valuable read for hypertext newcomers and those interested in the origins of electronic texts, "Hypertext and Hypermedia" sets the history for Joyce's view of the professional and political landscape that surround the evolution and present instantiations of hypertexts. Like most technological histories, this chapter traces an interesting chronology with stops along the way to point out important names like Vannevar Bush, who Joyce credits with the idea that hypertext resembles the workings of the human mind, Douglas Engelbart, who developed the first "full-blown prototype hypertext system," and Ted Nelson, who coined the term hypertext in the 1960s. Also, as with most histories, it is interesting to think about who or what was left out of this chronology and why. Understandably, Joyce ends his chronology with Jay David Bolter's ideas about hypertext being a new writing technology "both a visual and a verbal description, not the writing of a place, but rather a writing with places, spatially realized topics...signs and structures on the computer screen that have no easy equivalent in speech" (23).