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Internet Literacy

Research by Natalya Sinitskaya

Hypertext Literacy

The term ‘hypertext’ was first coined by Theodor Nelson in the1960s to refer to a multilinear electronic text (see Nelson, 1987).

Hypertext denotes an electronic text composed of blocks of texts, and these blocks are interconnected through electronic links (see Landow, 1997; Landow and Delany, 1991).

Hypertext literacy is an integral part of Internet literacy, since the web itself is a hypertext information retrieval system.

What is hypertext?

· Multilinearity (Landow and Delany, 1991; Slatin, 1991; Bolter, 1998) - hypertext presents information in a non-sequential format which destroys textual hierarchies, i.e. traditional way of reading a text paragraph after paragraph.

· Intertextuality (Landow and Delany, 1991; Burbules and Callister, 1996) - readers can make linear connections with the same text and lateral connections with a number of other texts.

· Multiple authorship and multivocality (Landow, 1997; Barnes, 1994) - when the meaning is conveyed through a number of texts, the authors are numerous, and this allows different points of view to be conveyed.

· Dematerialization and virtuality (Delany and Landow,1993; Slatin, 1991) - the text is no longer bound between two covers, but exists in the form of code in a virtual environment

· Interactivity (Landow and Delany, 1991; Slatin, 1991; Barnes, 1994) - the interactive nature of hypertext is twofold: it creates a possibility for a reader to create his or her own path through the text and construct his or her own meaning; on the other hand, this feature assumes interaction with the text, where readers can edit, delete or modify blocks of text, add their comments and participate in on-line surveys and discussions.

The world wide web presents a hypertext information retrieval system (Barnes, 1994), and the skills of interacting with this hypertext medium are particularly relevant to issues of the emerging Internet literacy.

Hypertext revolutionized the process of reading and brought about new experiences of interacting with the textual representation of information.

The features of hypertext that distinguish it from printed text present readers with new roles. These roles comprise a set of skills foundational to the core of hypertext literacy (Barnes, 1994):

· Interactive reading skills

· Text navigation skills

 

What are the features of hypertext?

What is hypertext literacy?

The interaction of the reader with the hypertext and skills that are involved in interactive reading and navigation will be discussed further.

 

Imagine ordering from a hypertext menu in a restaurant!