Location: Hypertext Review / Hypertext - an Introduction / Reading and Writing Models / Index Site Map

4 Reading and Writing Models

Hypertext parallels human cognition and facilitates exploration. We think in nonlinear chunks which we try to associate with each other and build a network of concepts. When we read a book, we go back and forth a number of times to refer to previously read material, to make notes, and to jump to topics using the table of contents or the index. When we set out to write a document we first develop an outline of ideas. Then, we brainstorm, write down on paper, organize, revise, reorganize and repeat the cycle till we are satisfied with the outcome – a coherent document. In fact, we have been forced to adapt to traditional, linear text because of representation on paper.

In order to understand hypertext, it is very essential to understand how people read and write documents. “Reading and writing models have been developed by cognitive psychologists that can be used to understand non-linear thinking by human beings” [Rada, 1991], [Smith et al., 1987].