Wingert: HT 2000

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From Authoring to Design

This is the title under which David Kolb headed a section of six short papers which are best presented in the order at which they were read at the meeting because, in this way, they are more indicative of the order indicated in the title, i.e., from the very first text and design drafts to the final version.

Initially, Chris Willerton (Abiline Christian University) pursued the question why the detective story genre had not yet switched into the hypertext camp. He suspected that this might have to do with the close way in which readers are guided in such stories, the evidence and insights they are offered, or not offered at specific points in the narration. However, on the basis of his own experience in writing a detective story ("Londale Hotel," soon to be published in an omnibus by Eastgate) he realized that he had had misconceptions about reader expectations and hypertext structures rather than that the whole genre, in fact, was not suitable. For the many HT structures systematized by Mark Bernstein at the '98 conference, it was surely valid to say (Proceedings, p. 235): "For a mystery writer, whose craft consists in hiding and revealing facts, these capabilities could be invaluable."

Experiences of students attempting to submit their term papers as hypertexts were the subject of a report by Margit Pohl (co-author, Peter Purgathofer, TU Vienna). Students, in fact, did run into difficulties in these attempts. Using HT tools the authors themselves developed, and the corresponding protocol methods, they pursue the question how specific activities (such as writing a text, installing and erasing nodes, shifting nodes, etc.) and their distribution are associated with the resultant HT structures.

Clara Mancini (Open University, Milton Keynes, UK) made comparisons between the narrative tools available to movies and the units possible in hypertext, recognizing montage as one of the common principles. She recommends that the more highly developed language of movies be studied for HT design.

The likely development of the expense in developing an HT application can be found out in the course of the process, but best at the very beginning. On the basis of projects of second-term students of computer science, Emilia Mendes (Auckland University, New Zealand; co-author Wendy Hall, Southampton) studied an approach of "estimation by analogy," i.e., they compared the project to be estimated with a very similar project and the development expense it had entailed. Inexperienced students were found, inter alia, to use for their assessment mainly the number of links and the structure chosen (sequential, hierarchical, network-like).

Moritz Neumüller (Linz) presented a semiotic analysis of "iMaketing Tools," inquiring what rapidly developing commercialization implied for the world of symbols if, e.g., a user reading a Web page was covertly supplied with different signs by means of so-called "link injection." The case described referred to a discussion list in which a participant said he and his fiancée still required "visa" for an entry to the USA. However, that term had obviously been sold to the card organization of the same name, and clicking on at this point produced the home page of the company instead of, as could have been taken from the context, offering any helpful advice on how to apply for a visa.

The session was finished with the contribution by Christine Boese, whose main argument was mentioned above in the review of the panel about "Publishing Issues." It was quite fitting in this context that she was required, in order to ensure accessibility of her work, to buy a URL at her own expense. In this way, she managed to save her hypertext form; had she submitted her contribution to the ACM meeting as a hypertext, she would not have been accepted, as Jim Rosenberg added ironically.

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