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2.3 Guidelines for Conversion

The following can be some of the criteria in converting linear documents into hypertext format, both manually and automatically [Glushko, 1989]:

  1. Utmost care is required while identifying text units as nodes that can be separate modules and still be sufficient enough to be cross-references for other entries.
  2. A good design rule is to choose as the basic unit of text the smallest logical structure with a unique name (such as the title for an entry) - this can be used as a selection key in a hierarchical browser, in search lists as candidate keys, as bookmarks, and embedded cross-references.
  3. Pages or paragraphs are less suited as hypertext units because they do not form convenient handles for manipulation.
  4. It is very important to understand both the explicit and implicit link structures in the printed version of the material. Careful decisions have to be made as to what links to create and what to disregard.
  5. It is important to understand the user’s task and to support links that follow some model of the user’s need for information in some particular context. It is essential NOT to link items that are related in idiosyncratic or superficial ways. Such hypertext links lead to “spaghetti documents”. A careful analysis needs to be done as to what implicit and explicit hypertext structures users make use of in the linear document.
  6. The organization of the material should be open and flexible. Different kinds of views should be available for different users. For example, a repair manual can contain a training view, a troubleshooting view, a routine maintenance view and a purchaser’s view. View descriptions may appear as alternate overview diagrams or webs of information.