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3.4 Intermedia

The Intermedia system, developed at Brown University’s Institute for Research and Information Scholarship, is an integrated environment that allows different types of applications (word processors, editors, and other programs) to be linked together. It is a collection of tools that allows authors to link together the contents of text, timeline, graphics, 3-D models and video documents over a network of high-powered workstations [Meyrowitz, 1986]. The applications that exist within the Intermedia framework include a text editor (InterText), a graphics editor (InterDraw), a scanned image viewer (InterPix), a three-dimensional object viewer (InterSpect), and a timeline editor (InterVal).

The hypermedia functionality of the system is integrated into each application so that the creation and traversal of links can be intermixed with the creation and editing of documents. The system provides consistent, modeless, direct-manipulation applications. Strict conformance to user interface standards throughout the system makes it easy for the user to interact with all the applications in a similar manner.

Intermedia supports the concept of webs, composite entities that have many nodes and links between them. A link can belong to one or more webs. It provides three types of navigation tools: paths, maps, and scope lines. It supports shared and concurrent access to documents based on a system of access permissions. Intermedia has been used in presenting two courses online - English literature and biology [Yankelovich et al., 1988].