The term “hypertext” was coined in 1965 by Ted Nelson, who defined it as “non-sequential writing—text that branches and allows choices to the reader.”

n his 1981 book Literary Machines, hypertext theorist and pioneer Ted Nelson.
No work is truly independent: new ideas build on old ideas, old theories are reformulated and revised as new theories, old stories are retold and revisited as new stories.

Landow and others have linked hypermediation with modern critical theory, particularly the work of Roland Barthes. Barthes describes his ideal text as containing “networks [that] are many and interact, without any one of them being able to surpass the rest… [the text] has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances”. Barthes’ ideal text is “writerly,” rendering its reader “a producer rather than a consumer of the text” . Rather than having an order and meaning clearly imposed upon it by its author, the ideal text invites its reader’s maximum participation, allowing him or her to develop his or her own connections and find his or her own meaning within the words.

As Lev Manovich writes, “a number of different interfaces can be created from the same data”. Katherine Hayles reinforces the fact that different trappings do in fact alter the meaning of the text: The content of a hypermedia work remains fixed, but the experience of this content varies according to the user and his or her preferences.

In the realm of art, hypertext/hypermedia allow for the creation of new kinds of artistic and literary experiences.

Lev Manovich sees hypertextuality as characteristic of postindustrial society. In today’s world, citizens are no longer bound by stringent, uniform morals and expectations. Instead, “every citizen can construct her own custom lifestyle and ‘select’ her ideology from a large (but not infinite) number of choices”.

Ted Nelson writes, “There is no Final Word. There is always a new view, a new idea, a reinterpretation”. Information stays the same, but the way it is viewed, interpreted, and interacted with changes constantly. Given this shifting nature, hyper-organization is an ideal means of organizing information: it offers access that is as fluid and flexible, as in-depth or as shallow, as specific or as broad, as its user wants it to be.

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