The term "hypertext" was coined by Ted Nelson in 1963. "Hyper" is a concept from mathematics, where it is used about hyperdimentional rooms.


Hypertext is a way of organizing and displaying documents. Hypertext have hyperlinks either to other documents or internally to other parts of a given document. A hyperlink opens on request the document (or part of document) to which it is linked. A hypertext system can incorporate many kinds of interfaces like "point and shoot-menus", and command lines, and can be used to access both static collections of cross-referenced documents and interactive applications. The links may be general or typed. Typed links are specific kinds of links, i.e. links that establish a certain kind of relations, e.g. between a reference in a text and in the reference list.


The most famous implementation of hypertext is the World Wide Web.


The word “hyper-text” was coined by Theodor Nelson in 1965, who “pointed out that we often do not think in linear sequences but rather in "swirls" and in footnotes. He introduced the concept of the hyper-text, which would be a more flexible, more generalized, non-linear presentation of material on a particular subject.” (Wedles, 1965).


"Hypermedia is a term used as a logical extension of the term hypertext, in which audio, video, plain text, and non-linear hyperlinks intertwine to create a generally non-linear medium of information." (Wikipedia, 2005a)


Nelson has continued to develop his theory of hypertext and instantiates it with Project Xanadu, a  system that assures the identity of references to objects, and solves the problems of configuration management and copyright control. Anyone is allowed to reference anything, provided that references are delivered from the original, and possibly involving micro payments to the copyright holders.





Agosti, A. (1988). Is Hypertext a New Model of Information Retrieval? IN: Online Information 88: Proceedings of the 12.th International Meeting. London:  (Pp. 57-62).

Davenport, L. & Cronin, B. (1990). Hypertext and the conduct of science. Journal of Documentation, 45,(3), 175-192

Davenport, L. & Cronin, B. (1991). What does hypertext offer the information scientist? Journal of Information Science, 17(1), 65-70.

Nielsen, J. (1990). Hypertext and Hypermedia. San Diego, Ca.: Academic Press.


Wedles, L. (1965) Prof. Nelson Talk - Analyzes P.R.I.D.E. Vassar Miscellany News, February 3. http://faculty.vassar.edu/mijoyce/Ted_sed.html


Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2005a). Hypermedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypermedia


Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2005b). Hypertext. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext

Journal: Hypermedia. 1989-.




See also: Browsing

Birger Hjørland

Last edited: 25-01-2006