Re: INFO: Hypertext

Steve Witham (
Tue, 4 Mar 1997 00:02:29 -0500

Dan Fabulich <> writes:

>I've recently taken interest in reading about hypertext, a decentralized
>system for fine-grained bi-directional linking in writing.

Actually Ted Nelson originally defined the term as "nonsequential writing."
There are lots of kinds of hypertext. The WWWeb is hypertext with one-
way (mostly) links to whole documents (or to anchors put in by the original
authors). Fine grain links, bidirectional links, versioning, permanent
storage, redundant storage are all nice features.

You can get reverse links by using a search engine like AltaVista to find
references to a URL. I like this approach because it doesn't depend on
the cooperation of the host of the linked-to page. Robin Hanson has a
page about backward link-following methods (sorry, not online right now).

>One of the most important inabilities in a hypertext system, according
>to Drexler, is the inability to retract articles. This allows for a new
>and powerful mode of criticism which was impossible before hypertext.
>[...] In Usenet, there's no guarantee that you'll
>find the post which you read last week; say nothing of decades ago.

There are already people who archive the usenet on CD and sell it.
Also, it's pretty easy to set up a news server and just archive
everything. I think there's a system for giving a standard URL to a
usenet post. I wonder if anyone puts the whole history online?

Meanwhile there is a group archiving as much of the WWWeb as their
web crawler can collect. Check .


--           Steve Witham
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