Hypertext & Literacy

Ted Nelson: With a background in film and philosophy, Ted put his ideas about cinematography and his need to organize his thoughts, ideas, and notes into a text-management system he coined hypertext.

Tim Berners-lee: If not for him, we would not have the web! The focus that he had was to create a system where people could publish information once, and have others view it. People think of the WWW as a computer system, but it is a publishing system that uses the internet.

What is hypertext?

Hypertext is a multi-dimesional writing system! Ordinary print reading is left to right - top to bottom - Organized in rows. Hypertext allows us to use the space behind the words to add information. We call this "information," or "data about information" - putting information about the words inside the words.

The sad reality of hypertext is that it is not used as it was intended. Hypertext is a contextual medium, so all links should be in the context of the sentences they apply to. Long lists of links or navigation bars are the anti-thesis of the hypertext ideal.

One of the other strengths of hypertext is that it combines well with visual learning.

The Wiki Wiki web

The most successful and famous wikiweb is The Wikipedia:

The Wiki Web we used is calledd TiddlyWiki: If you want a copy to play with on your own computer:

Dog-and-Pony Show!

Hyper-poetry/ficiton (by Deena Larsen) (by Robert Kendall) (from

Poetic "Augmentation" Catherine C. Mcgeoch @ Amherst College)

Hyper Haiku Ted Nellen @ Information Technology High School, NY)

Hyper Shakespeare (from University of Northern British Columbia)

Hyper Austin (annotated)

Hyper Hemmingway (from Virginia Commonwealth University, VA)

Vocab Lesson using a M. Crichton article (from Dr. Kira Shoren @ Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel)


I'm adding to this page: the original paper from Vanover bush As we may think

Alan kayes dynabook von neuman

Here is a great article on Wikis

Wiki Wiki! Hypertext and Literacy: Learn the history and practice of hypertexting and how it can be used to enhance literacy lessons. Get some hands-on time constructing a mini-wiki web, visit some fully developed ones, and understand how the principle of hypetexting can (and will continue to) be used in the learning process.

Concepts to work with: the idea of threading and the nature of contextual systems.