CS835 - Data and Document Representation & Processing

Lecture 3 – Hypermedia I


V. Balasubramanian http://www.e-papyrus.com/hypertext_review/chapter1.html




·         an approach to information management in which data is stored in a network of nodes connected by links

o       Nodes can contain text, graphics, audio, video, source code, or other forms of data

o       Linking capability allows a nonlinear organization of text.

·         It is a representation scheme, a kind of semantic network, which mixes informal textual material with more formal and mechanized processes.

·         It is an interface modality that features link icons or markers that can be arbitrarily embedded with the contents and can be used for navigational purposes



  • Ease of tracing links
  • Ease of creating new references
  • Information structuring
  • Global views
  • Customised documents
  • Modularity of information
  • Consistency of information
  • Task stacking
  • Collaboration



  • Risk of disorientation while navigating the information space is one of the major usability problems with hypertext systems.
  • Cognitive overhead is another problem with hypertext systems.
  • May be difficult for group members to become accustomed to the additional mental overhead required to create and keep track of links.
  • In general: the additional effort and concentration necessary to maintain several tasks or trails at one time may be experienced as a burden.




1965 – Ted Nelson – invented the term "hypertext" (non-linear text)

·         defined as a body of written or pictorial material interconnected in a complex way so that it could not be conveniently represented on paper.

·         Could contain:

o       summaries or maps of its contents and their interrelations;

o        annotations, additions and footnotes


1945 -  Vannevar Bush - realized that an era of information was approaching. (As We May Think PDF )

He designed Memex:

·         A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.

·         It is conceptual machine that could store vast amounts of information, in which a user had the ability to create information "trails": links of related text and illustrations.

·         This trail could then be stored and used for future reference.


·         The Memex would store information on microfilm kept on the user's desk.

·         The desk would contain many translucent screens on which several microfilms could be projected for convenient reading.

·         The would be a keyboard and sets of buttons and levers.

·         The Memex would have a scanner for user input of new material and it would also allow users to make handwritten marginal notes and comments.


·         Memex supported:

o       Conventional form of indexing

o       Associative indexing - any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another.

o       Essential feature of memex -The process of tying two items together



Memex animation: http://www.dynamicdiagrams.com/case_studies/mit_memex.html



Nodes and Links

A hypertext system is made of nodes (concepts) and links (relationships).

  • A node usually represents a single concept or idea.
  • It can contain text, graphics, animation, audio, video, images or programs.
  • It can be typed (such as detail, proposition, collection, summary, observation, issue) thereby carrying semantic information


  • Nodes are connected to other nodes by links.
  • The node from which a link originates is called the reference
  • The node at which a link ends is called the referent.


  • Links connect related concepts or nodes.
  • They can be bidirectional thus facilitating backward traversals.
  • Links can also be typed (such as specification link, elaboration link, membership link, opposition link and others) specifying the nature of relationship
  • Links can be either referential (for cross-referencing purposes) or hierarchical (showing parent-child relationships).


Basic Features of a Hypertext System

1.      Graphical User Interface, with the help of browsers and overview diagrams, helps the user to navigate through large amounts of information by activating links and reading the contents of nodes.

2.      Authoring system with tools to create and manage nodes (of multiple media) and links.

3.      Information retrieval mechanisms such as keyword searches, author searches etc.

4.      Hypermedia engine to manage information about nodes and links.

5.      Storage system that can be a file system or a knowledge base or a relational database management system or an object-oriented database management system.


Early Hypertext Systems


Augment/NLS – 1968 -PDF

  • Doug  Engelbart of SRI developed a system called NLS (oN Line System) with hypertext-like features.
  • Used to store all research papers, memos, and reports in a shared workspace that could be cross-referenced with each other
  • Demonstrated NLS as a collaborative system among people spread geographically.




Xanadu – 1965 - PDF

  • 1960 - developed the idea of "nonsequential writing" - text as a non-linear entity.

·         Xanadu isTed Nelson’s life’s work – 40 years and counting

·         His vision of a "docuverse" (document universe) where "everything should be available to everyone.

o       Any user should be able to follow origins and links of material across boundaries of documents, servers, networks, and individual implementations.

o       There should be a unified environment available to everyone providing access to this whole space."

  • Xanadu - a repository publishing system "intended to store a body of writings as an interconnected whole, with linkages, and to provide instantaneous access to any writings within that body."
    • This system has no concept of deletion - a write-once system.
    • Once something is published, it is for the entire world to see forever.
    • As links are created, the original document remains the same except for the fact that a newer version is created which would have references to the original version(s).
    • Since conventional file systems are not adequate to implement such a system, Project Xanadu has focused its attention on the re-design and re-implementation of file systems.





Intermedia - 1986

  • Developed at Brown University's Institute for Research and Information Scholarship
  • Integrated environment that allows different types of applications (word processors, editors, and other programs) to be linked together
  • Collection of tools for authors to link together the contents of text, timeline, graphics, 3-D models and video documents over a network of high-powered workstations
  • Intermedia includes:

·          a text editor (InterText),

·         a graphics editor (InterDraw),

·         a scanned image viewer (InterPix),

·         a three-dimensional object viewer (InterSpect),

·         a timeline editor (InterVal).

  • 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.

  • Supports shared and concurrent access to documents based on a system of access permissions.





NoteCards - 1987

  • Framework - a semantic network composed of notecards connected by typed links.
  • Has tools for displaying, modifying, manipulating, and navigating through the network.
  • four basic constructs: notecards, links, browsers, and fileboxes.
  • Notecards contain information embedded in text, graphics, images, voice or other media.
  • Links represent binary relationships between cards.
  • Browsers display node-link diagrams of portions of the network.
  • Fileboxes provide a mechanism to organize cards into topics or categories.
  • NoteCards can be integrated with other systems running in the Lisp environment such as mail systems, databases, and expert systems.



KMS - 1988

  • Knowledge Management System (KMS), a descendant of ZOG, developed at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Designed to manage large hypertext networks across local area networks.
  • Based on the basic unit called the frame.

·         A frame can contain text, graphics, or images.

·         Frames are connected to other frames via links.

  • Links:
    1. tree items to represent hierarchical relationships
    2. annotation items to represent referential relationships.
  • No distinction between browsing and authoring modes.

·         Users can make changes to a frame or create links at any time and these changes are saved automatically

  • Used for collaborative work, electronic publishing, project management, technical manuals and electronic mail.


HyperTies - 1988

  • HyperTies started as TIES (The Interactive Encyclopedia System) under the direction of Ben Shneiderman at the University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory.
  • Authoring and browsing tools.
  • A node may contain an entire article that may consist of several pages.
  • Links:

·         highlighted words or

·         embedded menus

·         activated using the keyboard or a touchscreen.

  • Readers can preview links before traversing.
  • Simple user interface designed for museum information systems or kiosks.
  • Commercial version used for applications in diagnostic problem solving, self-help manuals, browsers for libraries, and on-line help



  1. Developed by Peter Brown as a research project at the University of Canterbury, U.K.
  2. Commercially marketed by Office Workstations
  3. IBM PC and Apple Macintosh.
  4. Most popular commercial hypertext system.
  5. Text and graphics integrated together into articles or documents.
  6. Guide supports four different kinds of links: replacement buttons, note buttons, reference buttons, and command buttons.
  7. Navigation through the replacement buttons initially provides a summary of the information and the degree of detail can be changed by the reader.
  8. Similar to KMS, Guide also does not distinguish between the author and the reader



  • Textnet was designed and implemented by Trigg at the University of Maryland.
  • Developed to support on-line scientific community in text creation, footnoting, annotating and critiquing.
  • Based on a semantic network of nodes and labeled links.
  • Nodes either:

·          primitive pieces of text called chunks or

·         composite hierarchies called table of contents (tocs).

  • Links:

·         Basic:

·         normal links

·         commentary links.

·         Eighty different types of links with different functions 



Writing Environment (WE)

  • Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill developed the Writing Environment (WE), a hypertext system based on a cognitive model of the communication process.
  • Model explains:

·         Reading - the process of taking linear streams of text, comprehending it by structuring the concept hierarchically, and absorbing into long-term memory as a network.

·         Writing - reverse process: A loosely structured network of internal ideas and external sources is first organized into an appropriate hierarchy or outline which is then translated into a linear stream of words, sentences, paragraphs, sections, and chapters

  • WE was designed to support the process of writing.
  • Contains two major view windows:
    1.  graphical  - allows the user to loosely structure their ideas in terms of nodes.
    2. hierarchical along with commands.
  • As some conceptual structure begins to emerge, the writer can transfer the nodes into the hierarchy window which has specialized commands for tree operations.
  • Relational database used for storaging nodes and links in the network.
  • Other windows: an editor window, a query window, and a window to control system modes and the current working set of nodes.
  • WE can be used both as a hypertext system as well as an authoring system with advanced graphical, direct manipulation structure editing capabilities



Conversion of Text to Hypertext

·        Logical conversions - manual hypertexts:

·         Encyclopedias

·         Dictionaries

·         Training manuals

·        Reference materials are highly cross-referenced and are used in a non-linear fashion.

·        Readers look for structural cues;

·         Table of contents

·         Indexing by subject

·         Keywords

·         Authors

·         Page numbers

·         Sections

·         See-also listings


Limitations of Printed Text

Limitations imposed by the printed versions of reference books:

·         Amount of information that can be stored limited compared to electronic forms of storage.

·         Difficult to search through large volumes of printed material

·         Difficult to updated periodically

·         Search is predominantly lexical - the table of contents and the index provide the facility to jump to topics

o       amount of cross-referencing is minimal.

o       Printed index is limited by the size and selection criteria of the authors and does not always direct the user to all relevant information.

·         Information cannot be dynamically re-arranged to suit the individual needs of various kinds of users.

·         Information is spread over a number of volumes and after some time information retrieval becomes tedious.


Advantages of Hypertext Format

1.      Hypertext form can support good browsing capability.

2.      Electronic media can store large amounts of information.

3.      Provides better visual prominence and more rapid navigation through huge number of entries

4.      Most users would like to:

a.      save their results and queries for future use

b.      use annotation facilities

c.      transfer text segments to other documents

d.      have tools to sort and filter quotation

e.      have tools for statistical analysis of variables.


Conversion Issues

1.      Identifying documents that would benefit readers if converted to hypertext form.

2.      Determining procedures to convert them to hypertext format.

3.      Preparing documents in an electronic format from paper or other forms.

4.      Identifying nodes and links and classifying them into various types (to capture semantics).


Fragmentation problem - difficult to identify text units that can be separate modules and also serve as cross-references for other entries.

·         Links should follow some model of the user's need for information in some particular context.

·         Granularity is a difficult problem:

                                                  i.      Too fine the granularity, greater the problem of fragmentation.

                                                ii.      Too coarse the granularity, greater the need or the display of large entries.

·         Fragmentation tends to make an implicit structure explicit, taking away the expressiveness of the statement.


5.      Determining the target of a link as a complete entry, a sub entry, or a derivative form is a challenging task

6.      Computer monitors - the display of large entries in their entirety is still a problem

·          Partly solved by having fisheye views and abbreviations.

·         Structural information can be extracted from the tags and employed in the construction of a structural view.

7.      Performing the conversion and verifying the results.


Types of Conversion

Two ways to convert existing documents into hypertext form - manual conversion and automated conversion 


Manual Conversion

  • Uses a hypertext authoring tool to create nodes and links manually.
  • Depends on the way the author understands the structure and flow of the presented material
  • Repetitive process - prone to error.
  • Manual conversion suitable only for small documents.


Automated Conversion

  • Facilitates identification of nodes and links based on pre-defined criteria
  • Output of an automated conversion process can be modified/enhanced by authors
  • Large information spaces such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and training manuals can be converted to hypertext format efficiently
  • Most linear documents have structural elements :  titles, sub-titles, chapters, sections, paragraphs, sentences, words, figures, tables, and indexes.
    • Automated conversion system must be able to:
      • recognize these structural elements
      • identify nodes and links
      • construct the appropriate links to form the hypertext network
  • Links can capture both the hierarchical and referential nature of the material.


Guidelines for Conversion

1.      Use care to identify text units as nodes that can be separate modules and still be sufficient enough to be cross-references for other entries.

2.      Design rule - choose as the basic unit of text the smallest logical structure with a unique name (such as the title for an entry)

3.      Pages or paragraphs are less suited as hypertext units because they do not form convenient handles for manipulation.

4.      Must understand both the explicit and implicit link structures in the printed version of the material.

5.      Must understand the user's task and to support links that follow some model of the user's need for information in some particular context.

6.      Organization should be open and flexible.

7.      Different kinds of views should be available for different users.

e.g. repair manual can contain :

training view

troubleshooting view

routine maintenance view

purchaser's view.


Automatic Link Construction

Requires intelligence

links created based on the semantic analysis of the underlying text



Hypertext Templates

  • Hypermedia templates are sets of pre-linked documents that can be duplicated
  • Templates automate the process of creating hypermedia collections by creating the "skeletons" of documents and linking them.


Requirements for a hypertext system to provide templates:

1.      Provide generic operations to create, duplicate, edit or delete a template.

2.      Facilities to add contents to empty documents and links, to display an overview of the template, to access a template by its type, by author, or by creation date.

3.      Operations to displayan overview of the template, to zoom into specific link sets or webs or sub graphs and look at the contents of documents.

4.      Specify formats and screen layouts for a template and to add help.

5.      Choices to manipulate the contents of documents within a template such as editing, deleting, creating new links etc.


 e.g. Intermedia

1.      Facility to create templates including the documents and links that make up the template.

2.      Documents within the same template can be linked.

3.      User can specify the folder or directory under which each document is created and also the folder where the template has to be duplicated.

4.      User can find out which template was used to make a new hypermedia collection.

5.      The original template itself is write-protected so that users do not edit it accidentally.


General Guidelines for Authoring Hypertext Documents

A document should consist of the three components - the content part, the organizational part, and the presentation part


The Content Part

·         Nodes and links are design objects.

·         Properties (semantics) can be associated with these design objects in order to introduce coherence in a hypertext document.


·         Content contain information

·         Content links connect content nodes based on semantic relationships


·         Content nodes can be either atomic or composite.

·         Content links can be typed specifying the exact nature of the semantic relationship.

  • Level One: Links with no labels.
  • Level Two: Links with labels describing global semantic relationships such as "is discussed by", "is illustrated by".
  • Level Three: Links with more specific labels such as "is criticized by", "is shown graphically".


Design rule:

  1. Composite content nodes should be used to hierarchically structure the content of the document into domain specific sub-units of information.

2.      The label of a link should be as specific as possible and should constitute a comprehensible sentence together with the names of the source and destination nodes.


The Organizational Part

·         Design objects of the organizational part increase coherence by structuring the network under a reader-oriented perspective.


·         Structure nodes organize content nodes and links in a specific manner.

·         Each structure node has a name and a starting node.

  1. Sequencing nodes that allow the author to define the reading sequence through the content net.
  2. Exploration nodes allow the reader to explore - the reader can simply follow the content links to explore the subnet.


·         Structure nodes can be connected by structure links which are also classified into two types:

  1. Sequencing links associate the content of each sequencing node with a presentation sequence.

Can be used to define ordering such as linear sequence, branching sequence etc.

  1. Exploration links provide access to exploration nodes.

An exploration link is embedded into a sequencing node and points to the beginning of an exploration node.


·         Sequencing nodes and sequencing links can present different presentation sequences such as sequential paths, branching paths, and conditional paths.


Design rules:

  1. Choose an appropriate starting point to serve as an introduction to the document.
  2. Construct appropriate paths based on reader's interests and knowledge.


The Presentation Part

The actual display of structure and content and provide the means of navigation.

Three styles:

  1. Textual Style: There is no graphical display of the structure, the presentation being limited to the display of the content of one or more nodes.
  2. Graphical Style: There is a graphical display, such as an overview map, of the structure.
  3. Combined Style: Both overviews and the ability to open nodes are provided.


Dynamic Hypertext

  • No static links exist in a Web page
  • Links are created "on the fly"
  • Dynamic links are created based on the content of the Web site and the interests of the user.
  • Links could lead to other Web pages in the Web site or can be used to further a user's search.
  • Can be used to present conventional text databases as a set of interconnected Web pages, and to merge them with other information on the Web (e.g., conventional static hypertext pages).
  • For a further discussion of dynamic hypertext
    •  Golovchinsky, G. (1997). Queries? Links? Is there a difference? In Proceedings of CHI'97, Atlanta, GA. ACM Press. 407-414.
    • Golovchinsky, G. (1997). What the query told the link: the integration of hypertext and information retrieval. In Proceedings of Hypertext'97, Southampton, UK. ACM Press.


  • e.g. Basic concept of dynamic hypertext was implemented in the DynaWeb system
  • (Bodner, R., Chignell, M., and Tam, T. (Nov., 1997) Website authoring using dynamic hypertext, Proceedings of WebNet'97, pp.59-64. Toronto: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.) http://www.imedia.mie.utoronto.ca/~rbodner/papers/webnet97/


  • Intended to be used to present large textual databases as Web pages.
  • System interacts with the INQUERY search engine to retrieve relevant document(s) in response to a query.
  • The titles of the most relevant documents (e.g., the top ten) are presented



  • When the person selects a document, the document is presented to the person with hyperlinks which were created "on the fly"


  • Selection of words used as links is based on previous links (i.e., queries) the person selected.
  • The system also keeps track of the previous queries.



Linearization of Hypertext

·        Reverse problem - linearize a hypertext document for printing.

·        Printing a branching hypertext document in a linear fashion poses both technical and conceptual problems

·        Easy to linearize a hypertext document having a strict hierarchical structure by performing a depth-first tree traversal

o       print the first chapter and its sections and move onto the next chapter and so on

·        General case - hypertext document is a highly connected network without any special order - difficult to produce a good linear document


e.g. Lotus SmarText Electronic Document Construction Set

  • Automates the creation and browsing of large hypertext document
  • Presents multiple views of non-linear text in a linear fashion
  • SmarText readers can choose to traverse one path out of many possible paths
  • A path is essentially a linear presentation of specific nodes connected by specific links
  • The text, the index and outlines are constrained by the selected view or path




  • Large class of applications for which relational database management systems (RDBMS) are too limited.
  • Characterized as complex, large-scale, data-intensive programs such as CAD/CAM systems, documentation management systems, hypermedia systems, and geographical information systems.
  • Require a database model that is more expressive and flexible than the relational model.
  • Object-Oriented Data Base Management Systems (OODBMS) for hypermedia applications developed


Object-Oriented Concepts and Hypermedia

  1. Simple nodes can be compared to atomic objects representing primitive data types such as integer, character, string, video frame and bitmap.
  2. Objects or nodes can be accessed using object identifiers or node identifiers.
  3. A link can be represented by a set of at least two object identifiers. Links can also be treated as objects with their own identifiers (link identifiers) which can be used to separate index information from content.
  4. A composite node in hypertext (made of webs of nodes and links) can be treated as a composite object or an aggregation of simple objects.
  5. The concepts of data abstraction and encapsulation can be applied by defining methods to create, delete, update and manipulate nodes and links, to traverse links, and to trigger events.
  6. Nodes and links can be grouped under different classes based on structural and behavioral patterns (semantics). Organizing nodes and links semantically helps manage the network better, eliminates ambiguity, clearly differentiating the purposes of these objects.
  7. Nodes and links of a particular class can also inherit properties from related superclasses. This feature can be used in the creation and management of hypermedia templates - when a user changes a parent template, these changes can be propagated to all its sub-classed templates.
  8. Whenever the properties of nodes and links have to be changed it should be easy to do so through schema evolution.
  9. Other object-oriented concepts that are pertinent to hypertext include concurrency control, versioning, and persistence.


e.g. HyperBase PDF


  • basic class - HB_Object
  • three subclasses:
    • HB_Node - HB_Objects with content and history
    • HB_Link - HB_Object that connects two existing HB_Objects
    • HB_Composite_Object - collection of references to existing HB_Objects
  • Generic operations of create, modify, copy, delete, retrieve an object (part of or whole) were supported for nodes, links, composite objects, and attributes.


Requirements for Hypermedia Systems

a. Openness and Distribution

·        Open hypermedia system can connect to other information systems (both hypertext and non-hypertext).

·        Distribution allows the system to store at geographically dispersed sites in a manner transparent to the user.

b. Support for collaborative work or sharing

·        Includes:

o       simultaneous multi-user access to the hypermedia network

o       robust concurrency control mechanisms

o       broadcasting to users any changes made to the network by other users

o       tracking contributions made by each member of a team

c. Data integrity/Correctness

·        Database layer should preserve data integrity and provide traditional secondary storage management and data administration facilities.

·        Should support either the notion of rules as in extended relational databases or the concept of semantics as in object-oriented databases.

d. Dynamism

·        Must be able  to dynamically reconfigure the network in response to changes made to the network or its contents.

e. Search and query mechanism

·        Should provide efficient search and query mechanisms.

·        Allow two kinds of queries –

o       a structure query to retrieve a part of the network

o       a content query to retrieve a specific node.

f. Computation

g. Composites

  • Must deal with groups of nodes and links
  • Requires making a composite node as a primitive construct in the basic hypermedia model

h. Versioning

  • Versioning is required in order to keep track of changes to the network.
  • Must include versioning at the level of individual entities such as nodes and links and also at the level of the hypermedia network as a whole.

i. Multimedia Support

  • The database layer should be able to efficiently store and retrieve multiple media.
  • Should also provide transparent access to different storage media.

j. Extensibility and Tailorability

Ability to handle extensions to the existing data model (schema evolution) in a flexible and safe manner

  • The database layer should be able to handle:
    • the structural part of the hypertext data model
    • the semantic part to ensure data abstraction and encapsulation of the evolving data model.




·        "Getting lost in space" arises from the need to know where one is in the network, where one came from, and how to get to another place in the network.

·        Traditional text - not easy to get lost

o       Cues:

§         table of contents of topics with page numbers

§         index with keywords

§         page numbers

§         bookmarks.

·        Complex hypertext network - thousands of nodes and links -  more likely reader will get lost.

Cognitive Overhead

§         For authors : Additional mental overhead on authors to create, name, and keep track of nodes and links

§         For readers : Overhead due to making decisions as to which links to follow and which to abandon, given a large number of choices.

Designs for Navigation

Graphical Browsers

§         Graphical browsers - overview displays for large bodies of information

§         Reduce disorientation by providing a spatial display of the hypertext network

§         Provide an idea about the size of the network


e.g. gIBIS - MCC Software Technology Program - PDF

·        Users can scroll through the entire network as well as rearrange the nodes

·        Provides facilities to view the contents of the browser at different levels of detail.

·        User can zoom in to see any portion of the browser in detail



Maps and Overview Diagrams

·        Maps serve to improve spatial context in a hypertext network.

e.g. Intermedia - a map is a local tracking map that displays all the documents or nodes linked to the current document which is dynamically updated.


·        Global overview diagrams provide an overall picture of all nodes and links in a document

·        Serve as anchors for local overview diagrams.

·        Local overview diagrams show the local context of the actual node


Paths and Trails

·        A path can allows authors to determine an appropriate order of presentation for a given audience.

·        Reduces both disorientation and cognitive overhead since users will follow a pre-defined path which will also narrow down their choices.

o  first enunciated by Bush in "As We May Think".


In Intermedia, a path is a list of documents users visited earlier in a browsing session.

·        Intermedia Web View – path display

·        The display of a path consists of :

o       the name of the document

o       an icon indicating the type of event (opening or activating documents)

o       a timestamp indicating when the event occurred.

·        A user's path is saved when closing the web and restored when opening the web, the next time.

·        A path can be used to collect all interesting documents to form a linear document that can be preserved in printed form


·        Scripted Documents System, XEROX, uses paths which are procedural and programmable

·        The items in the path (nodes) can be "active" entries or scripts which can do computations, execute programs etc.

·        The entries provide the content while the path provides sequencing

·        Paths can be created and edited using path editors.

·        Readers can get local and global views of relevant paths.

·        Playback mechanisms are supported which allow users to play back a path either single-stepped or automatic.

·        Different kinds of scripts provide different paths and can be used to create presentations for different classes of audiences

o       Multimedia document contains photos, formatted text, and voice annotations

  • Several scripts traverse the document to show members of various projects and play back their voice descriptions of themselves
  • The user has just clicked the Scripts button in the document header, which has created a menu of scripts that start in this document.
  • Script entries are shown as boxes around text.


Guided Tours and Tabletops

o       A guided tour is a system-controlled navigational tool that can be entered and exited at the user's will

o       Progress can be monitored using maps or overviews of the hypertext database

o       Paths are typically associated with the idea of a guided tour, where the author determines an appropriate order of presentation for a given audience

o       Guided tour may even include annotations explaining the items on the path

o       e.g., Trigg extended this concept to NoteCards and called stops along the tour tabletops.

o        Tabletops consist of sets of cards and annotations arranged on the screen in a particular layout.

o        A guided tour is a graphical interface to a network or path of tabletop cards, connected by links

o        A tabletop is a snapshot of cards currently on display, including their positions, shapes, scrolled locations of their contents and any overlapping.


o        A reader can:

o  start a guided tour

o  traverse a path of tabletops in sequence

o  jump arbitrarily to any tabletop

o  go back and forth between tabletops

o  reset the state of the guided tour.


Backtracking, History Lists, Timestamps, and Footprints

o        Backtracking allows visiting previously reviewed nodes

o        Path-following principle - preferred method - traverse in reverse order those nodes that were previously visited

o        Backtracking mechanisms must fulfill two requirements –

o  should always be available

o  should always be activated in the same way


e.g. NoteCards

o   Maintains an ordered list of each notecard that was examined in a particular session

o   Users select an item from the list and look through a browser

o   Nodes that have already been visited in a session are marked with a plus sign, one for each time visited

o   Visual indicators such as the plus sign or checkmarks or asterisks serve as "footprints" on overview diagrams and help users to avoid returning to nodes that have been recently visited.

o   A variation of the history list called the history tree shows the users "how" they traversed a set of linked nodes, the digressions, and multiple visits to nodes.

e.g. NoteCard’s history tree


o   Both the history list and history tree can be saved and annotated with text and graphics

o       HyperCard has a graphical history list called the recent list which has miniature snap-shots of the last forty-two nodes visited.

o       Clicking on a miniature brings that card to the display.

o   Nodes that are visited can be timestamped (along with the accumulated time spent at each node) and maintained in a chronological order 


Arbitrary Jumps, Landmarks, and Bookmarks

o       Arbitrary jumps enable users to go to any node in the system

o       Bookmark is similar to a history list except a bookmark is placed by the reader.


Embedded Menus

o       Embedded menus allow the user to select an item embedded within the node

o       Embedded menus are a better way of indexing for hypertext systems because they highlight semantic relationships over physical relationships.


Fisheye Views and Spiders

o        Fisheye view algorithm which is similar to looking at a scene with a wide angle lens - things of greater interest will be at the center, while items of lesser interest will be on the periphery. PDF

e.g. Fisheye Calender

o        Algorithm generates an image of the neighborhood by computing a relationship between a priori importance of a node and the distance between that node and the current position in the hypertext network


o        Hypertext as a directed graph with semantics

o        Nodes do not contain text.

o       Pieces of text are connected to the nodes by text links

o       nodes are connected to each other by labeled value links

o       text can contain embedded links, called lexical links, to other nodes.


o        Directed Graph Browsers

o        e.g.

o       "Spiders" - directed graph browser in Thoth-II

o        Global map is created dynamically as a user browses through linked nodes

o        Activating a node expands it showing links to other nodes which themselves fan out to other nodes.

o        Structure can be moved around to view parts that fall outside the viewing area.

o        Viewing modes:

·        Browsing mode - user browses through the graph, manipulates nodes and links

·        Text mode - user views the textual pieces attached to the nodes.

o       Hyperbolic Space

o        3D Hyperbolic Space Browser - http://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/webviz/htmlnosplit/

H3: Laying Out Large Directed Graphs in 3D http://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/h3/html.nosplit/

Link structure of a Web site laid out in 3D hyperbolic space


Roam and Zoom Techniques

·        Hypertext navigation is restricted by the physical limitations of the display screen

·        Readability affected when the contents of a node do not fit into one screen

·        Larger displays partially solve problem

·        Scroll bars allow two-dimensional navigation - not easy to focus on a particular region of interest.


·        Solution – roam and zoom

o  Entire information space shown in miniature within a map window occupying a small part of the display

o  Wire-frame box or rectangle inside the window shows the portion of the information space displayed on the main display

o  Main display is the viewport into the information space.

o  Map window provides a clear sense of location within the information space

o  Size of the wire-frame can be changed using the mouse thereby zooming in and out of the region

o  Wire-frame box can be dragged around the map window thus roaming around the information space.



Usability and Evaluation of Hypertext

1.      Adequacy of the content and the interface

Usefulness of hypertext depends on its purpose, ease of navigation, and the population domain

2.      Acceptability to readers

Is the hardware/software system designed to meet the user’s needs?

3.      Adaptability by readers for the task in hand

Must be appropriate to the tasks that the users are trying to accomplish

4.      Skills of the readers as information users

System should extend the range of cognitive activities that readers will engage in

5.      Costs of production and dissemination




·        Navigation or browsing is effective for small hypertext systems

·        Large hypertext databases requires information retrieval (IR) through queries


Query and Search Mechanisms

Conventional IR systems:

·        keyword based automatic searching (in conjunction with Boolean operations)

·        weighting of words based on their statistical properties

·        ranking of documents according to probability of relevance

·        automatic relevance feedback for query modification and query languages


Query and search mechanisms can be classified into content search and structure search

·        Content search - standard IR technique extended to hypertext systems

o       all nodes and links are treated independently and examined for a match to the given query

·        Structure search - will yield the hypertext sub-network that matches a given pattern


Query facilities which combine aspects of both content search and structure search are capable of acting as filters

·        Based on the user's query, the interface will display only those nodes and links that match the query.

·        Filtered browsers have been implemented both for NoteCards and Tektronix's Neptune.

o       In NoteCards, a user can filter out information based on the node or link type.

o       In Neptune, the query can be content-based;

§         if query is broad enough, a global view of the entire network is displayed

§         if query is well refined, the viewing size will be manageable.


Content Queries and Indexes

  • Two-level architecture for hypertext documents:
    • Top level - hyperindex (containing index information)

set of indexes linked together

    • Bottom level - hyperbase (containing content nodes and links).

·        When an index term describing the required information is found the objects from the underlying hyperbase are retrieved for examination

·        Navigating through the hyperindex (not the hyperbase) and retrieving information from the hyperbase is called "Query By Navigation".


Effectiveness of index expressions in the hyperindex include:

1.      Precision: The ratio of relevant objects associated with the descriptor to the total number of objects associated with the descriptor.

2.      Recall: The ratio of the number of objects associated with the descriptor to the total number of relevant objects.

3.      Exhaustivity: The degree to which the contents of the objects are reflected in the index expressions.

4.      Power: The ratio of a descriptor's specificity to its length.

5.      Eliminability: The ability to determine the irrelevance of a descriptor and stop the search.

6.      Clarity: The ability to grasp the intended meaning of the descriptor.

7.      Predictability: The ability to predict where relevant descriptors can be found in the index.

8.      Collocation: The extent to which the relevant index terms are near each other in the index.

Structural Queries

o        A logical query language that allows structural queries over a hypertext network

o        The basic formulae of the logic are the propositions and assertions on attributes' values

o        Queries use specifiers to directly retrieve edges, paths, and cycles.

o        The set of elements retrieved is collapsed into a hypertext network.

o        The output of a query is a hypertext network that users can incrementally compose queries.

o        The combination of specifiers, quantifiers, and the collapsing of query answers into a new hypertext network makes it possible to express structural queries

Cluster Hierarchies, Aggregates, and Exceptions

o        Vector space model to organize a hypertext collection into clustered hierarchies

o        Content of each node or document is represented by a set of possibly weighted terms.

o        Each document is represented by a term vector

o        Complete document collection is represented by a vector space whose dimension is equal to the number of distinct terms to identify the documents in the collection.

o        Similar or related documents are represented by similar multi-dimensional term vectors.

o        Model facilitates clustering documents based on their similarity and ranking retrieved documents in decreasing order of their similarity to the query vector. 

o        Comparisons are generally made between the query vector and the document vectors using one of the standard measures of similarity.

o        Clustering is also helpful in locating neighboring nodes which discuss related topic(s).

o        The user can incrementally refine the query vector to retrieve the desired document(s).


o        Object-oriented concept of abstraction (generalization/aggregation)

o       Abstraction is the concealment of all but relevant properties of an object or concept.

§         Aggregation is the clustering of related objects to form a higher level object.

§         Generalization is the property of treating a set of similar objects as a generic object.

o        Used to simplify hypertext structures

o        A set of related nodes and the links between them can be treated as a semantic cluster having the following properties:

1.      They form a subgraph of the hypertext graph.

2.      The compactness (the degree of interconnectedness of the hypertext) of the subgraph is higher than the compactness of the whole graph.

o        Graph theoretical algorithms such as biconnected components and strongly connected components can be applied in the formation of such clusters or aggregates.


Artificial Intelligence Techniques

o        A knowledge base and an inference engine built on top of the hypertext database can add "intelligence" to nodes and links.

o        An interactive filter can be built which will consult with the user and call up the appropriate node.




Models and Frameworks

Hypertext Abstract Machine (HAM)

o        One of the first approaches to a generic hypertext implementation model was the Hypertext Abstract Machine (HAM)

o        A general purpose, transaction-based, multi-user server for a hypertext storage system

o        HAM's emphasis was on developing an appropriate storage model.

o        It provided a general and flexible model that could be used in several, different hypertext applications.

o        HAM contains the following layers


o       User Interface:
 A window-based interactive environment for applications to communicate with users.

o       Application: The actual application which may or may not run on the same machine as the HAM.

o       Hypertext Abstract Machine: An engine which manages all information about the hypertext and communicates with the application through a byte stream protocol.

o       Host file system or storage system: A repository to store all the hypertext graphs or databases.


o       HAM storage model consists of five major objects:

1.graphs (networks of nodes and links containing one or more contexts)

2.contexts (partitions of data within a graph)



5.attributes carrying semantics.


o       Operations performed on HAM objects:

o        Create

o        Delete

o        Destroy

o        Change

o        Get

o        Filter

o        Special

o       The HAM architecture provided version control, filtering and data security.


Link Engine/Hypermedia Engine/Link Service

o        Intermedia - multiuser hypermedia framework whereby hypertext functionality is handled at the system level - linking would be available for all participating applications

o        The IRIS Hypermedia Services provided an integrated desktop environment for hypermedia applications such as InterWord, InterDraw, InterVal, InterVideo, and InterPlay

o        These services contain the following components: Intermedia Layer, Link Client, and Link Server.

o       Components are independent of both operating system and Graphical User Interface.

o        Documents are stored as Unix files while the link and anchor data are stored in a DBMS.

o        Link Engine made up of The Link Client, the Link Server, and the DBMS

o        Intermedia Layer - responsible for all live data manipulation

o        Link Engine - responsible for the storage and retrieval of link data

o        Intermedia documents could be interchanged with KMS using the Dexter Interchange Format


o        Requirements to make hypermedia an integrated part of the computing environment:

1.      Integration of hypermedia into the desktop.

o        Link Engine must be integrated into the computing environment just as the file system.

o        A higher level toolkit or an application programmer interface (API) must be provided for application developers to issue calls for hypermedia support.

2.      Hypermedia systems must provide multiple contexts or multiple webs in order to fully exploit hypertext linking across all applications.

3.      Hypermedia applications must support filtering and incremental query construction.

4.      Wide Area Hypermedia - Hypermedia functionality must be extended to support Wide Area Networks in addition to LANs.

5.      Building an integrated hypermedia environment is made easier with object-oriented techniques.


o        System-wide hypermedia engine based on the notion of a generalized hypermedia using bridge laws

o       Bridge laws are translation routines provided by the application to the hypertext interface.

o       They map the elements defined in the application's original non-hypertext data or knowledge base to entities in the hypertext engine.

o       Engine would bind independent back-end applications such as Decision Support Systems, Expert Systems, Databases and front-ends (interface-oriented applications such as word processors, graphics packages) through message-passing mechanisms.

o       Bridge laws map the objects defined in the back-end such as models, variables, calculations to objects in the front-end such as nodes, links, and link markers.

o       Front-end and back-end requirements for system-level approaches to hypermedia integration or client/engine cooperation.


Front-end Requirements:

o       Tracking the location of objects such as link markers and providing their identifiers to the engine when a link marker is selected.

o       Must request from the engine editing permissions for insertions, deletions, and modifications.

o       User interface must provide hypermedia prompts.

o       When the front-end saves a document with embedded hypermedia objects, the objects should also be saved.


Back-end Requirements:

o       Provide specific information about its structure and its applications' documents.

o       Bridge laws must be written by developers.

o       Provide control information and interpretive mechanisms along with the objects that are sent through messages.

o       Support hypermedia engine commands same as the front-end (command lists and context sensitive information).

o       Incorporate a standard document interchange standard such as ODA or SGML.


e.g. Sun's Link Service PDF

o       Extensible protocol to create and maintain relationships between autonomous front-end applications

o       Editing and storing of data objects is managed by independent applications which also provide some amount of front-end operations on links

o       The Link Service stores only the representations of the nodes rather than the nodes themselves.

o       The definition and granularity of nodes are left to the individual applications.

o       the storage of node data is independent of the storage of link data.

o       The Link Service makes it easier for applications to add hypertext functionality by providing a simple protocol, a shared back-end or link server, a library, and utilities to manage the link database

o       Applications communicate with the link server through the Link Service protocol.

o       Service allows independent applications to integrate linking mechanisms into their standard functionality and become part of an extensible and open hypertext system.

o       Existing text and graphics editors can be integrated into such a framework without any modifications.

o       Due to the separation of node and link data, the Link Service does not provide version control, node content editors, concurrent multi-user access, or other forms of data integration.


Hypermedia Toolkit

J. J. Puttress and N. M. Guimaraes. "The Toolkit Approach to Hypermedia"in Proceedings of the ACM European Conference on Hypertext '90 (ECHT '90), Versailles, France, 25-37, November 1990


o       A toolkit that could be used by application developers to add hypermedia functionality to their existing toolkit, independent of specific applications or environment

o       The hypermedia toolkit architecture has the following layers:

o       Application Software

o       Hypermedia Toolkit Layer

o       Storage System,

o       Representation System


Three components:

Storage System Interface (also called Eggs):

o       Consists of a set of C++ classes, providing a hypermedia structure to the stored application data.

o       Provides the mapping between the application above and the storage system below.

o       Similar to the HAM approach, the data model is made of graphs, contexts, nodes, links, attributes, and symbols

o       Interface does not interpret node data - it is just considered as a stream of bytes with no structure or meaning.

o       Provides version control and concurrency control mechanisms.

o       There is finer transaction management under the control of the application


Application Interface:

o       This interface is composed of data objects that communicate with the application above.


Representation System Interface:

o       Responsible for the presentation of views using user interface toolkits, independent of the display platform

o       Application Interface and the Representation Interface are made of a set of C++ classes, together called Hypermedia Object-oriented Toolkit (HOT)

o       HOT provides the abstractions required for hypermedia applications while encapsulating the details of the storage and representation systems

o       HOT consists of Data classes that include: HGraph, HContext, HNode, and HLink.

o       Consists of View classes for each of the Data classes: HGraphView, HContextView, HNodeView, HLinkView and HFrame.

Hypermedia Toolkit Architecture


HDM - Hypermedia Design Model



Basic features of HDM include:

o       Representation of hypertext applications through primitives: types entities composed of hierarchies of components

o       Different perspectives (different representations of the same component, e.g. text & sound) for each component

o       Units corresponding to component-perspective pairs

o       Bodies representing the actual contents of units

o       Structural links relating components belonging to the same entity

o       Application links relating components belonging to different entities

o       Browsing semantics determining the visualization and dynamic properties of the application


o       Primitives are similar to objects defined in HAM.


o       HDM is concerned with authoring-in-the-large - definition of the topology of the hypertext network.

o       Does not deal with authoring-in-the-small - filling in the contents of nodes and their presentation.

o       Systematic and rational structural decisions about the hypertext should be made before the actual hypertext is written so that a coherent and expressive application can be developed from the very beginning instead of being added later

o       HDM design specifications can be translated automatically into a lower-level node and link specification resulting in the actual implementation of the topology.



Dexter Hypertext Reference Model

·        Result of a series of workshops between October 1988 and July 1990

·        Tries to integrate and formalize aspects found in different hypertext systems : Intermedia, KMS, NoteCards, Augment

·        All major developments, at least from research within the United States, were presented at the workshops and their architectural abstraction mechanisms taken into account for inclusion in the standard.

·        Goal of the model is to provide researchers with a standard for comparing systems and developing interchange formats.


o       The Dexter model divides a hypertext system into three layers:


a. Runtime Layer

o       Presentation of hypertext and the dynamics of user interaction.

o       Dexter model does not go into the details of the presentation mechanism - too broad and diverse to be developed into a generic model

o       Presentation mechanisms can be specified containing information about how a component/network is to be presented to the user.

o       Presentation specifications provide an interface between the runtime layer and the storage layer.


b. Storage Layer

o       Main focus of the Dexter model

o       Models a database that is composed of a hierarchy of data-containing components which are interconnected by relational links

o       The notion of component replaces the weakly defined concept of nodes

o       Components have unique identifiers and links can be identified by a set of two or more component identifiers

o       Components correspond to the general notion of nodes and can contain text, graphics, images, audio, video etc.

o       Components are treated as generic containers of data and the model does not specify any structure within the containers

o       Storage layer focuses on the mechanism by which components and links are tied together to form hypertext networks.

o       Link component - special type of component

o       Supports computed as well as static links.

o       Can be single or bi-directional as well as multiheaded.

o       Links can be endpoints of links

o       Typing is supported through attributes that are added to the link component.

o       To address specific locations within a component the link component relies on the anchoring interface between storage layer and the within-component layer.


c. Within Component Layer

o       Concerned with the contents and structure within components of the hypertext network.

o       Since the range of possible content/structure that can be included in a component is open-ended, the Dexter model treats this layer as being outside its scope.

o       The assumption is that document structure models such as ODA, SGML, IGES etc., will be used in conjunction with this model to capture content/structure.

o       A critical interface between the storage layer and the within-component layer called anchoring discusses the mechanism of addressing locations or items within the content of an individual component.

o       Anchoring provides a mechanism for addressing specific locations (span-to-span links) within all component types known to the system.

o       Anchors consist of two parts:

o       an anchor identifier, which is unique across the universe of discourse (not just within the scope of one hypertext),

o       an anchor value, which defines the actual region of the anchor within the component.


Dexter Hypertext Reference Model



Early Interchange Standards

o       Hypertext documents are unstructured and can be dynamic.

o       Early structured document standards were sufficient to represent hypertext networks.

o       A tree based hierarchy is relevant but NOT sufficient for hypertext.

o       There should be a hierarchical framework with a system of typed links to cover the cross-references of structured documents and the links of hypertext.

o       ODA (Open Document Architecture) and SGML were not sufficient enough for the representation and exchange) of hypertext.

o       Extensions needed to provide a proper typed-link mechanism.

o       SGML does not specify layout or presentation information (which is important for hypertext) or how to handle images and graphics.

o       ODA addresses these issues but it is not sufficient.


Limitations of SGML

1.      SGML allows cross-referencing within the same document.

o       Uniqueness of an identifier is applicable only within the current local document.

o       Only elements within the same document (and only those having unique identifiers) can be linked.

o       This mechanism can only be used in a hypertext document to refer to elements within the same document and not other documents.

2.      SGML cannot support time dependent data such as audio and video and also graphics and images.

o  Rendering of events is not possible in SGML, that is, displaying a map of NY and a link that zooms into Manhattan.

Limitations of ODA and possible modifications

o       ODA, a standard for the storage and interchange of multimedia documents, deals with both logical structure and layout structure or presentation (unlike SGML).

o       ODA includes graphics and images and extensions are being considered to handle audio, video, and hypertext


a. Separation of logical structure and layout structure

o       Logical structure and layout structure are not completely separated

o       The logical structure must be edited in order to change the style of a document because the layout process uses the logical structure, the generic structures and the content architectures to create the specific layout.


b. Comprehensive attribute inheritance

o       The ODA mechanism for inheriting layout attributes (such as placement of blocks of contents within pages and rectangular areas called frames) and presentation attributes (such as character sets and the placement of items within blocks) is not sufficient.

o       If an attribute value is not specified for the object or its class, then the value can only be inherited according to the object's position in the tree and not according to its class (chapter, list etc.).

o       Attribute inheritance can be achieved by adding a facility called "style tables" which will enable the style inherited by an object (and hence its format) to depend both on its class and is position in the document.


c. Links

o       ODA does not have the ability to specify the purpose of a link and also how the layout process can express that purpose.

o       This can be accomplished by having classes for links (just as there are classes for logical objects).

o       Class of the link will determine how and where in the document the link can be used.

o       Representation of the link will depend on both the class and its position in the document.


d. Selective and multiple presentation

o       ODA does not have the ability to suppress the appearance of a logical object (or contents) during the layout process nor the ability to present the object many times.


e. Complete interactivity

o       The ODA layout process is sequential and page based and hence does not provide complete interactivity.

o       Does not support online editing capabilities such as:

o  ability to scroll through a document

o  ability to display selected items ( outlining facility)

o  ability to popup additional information on demand (such as footnotes, glossaries etc.)

o  ability to "fold" documents revealing hidden sections only on request

o  ability to follow links automatically.


HyTime - Hypermedia/Time-based Structuring Language



o       International Standard for representing hypertext links and synchronization of static and time-based information contained in multiple conventional and multimedia documents and information objects

o       HyTime is an SGML application conforming to ISO 8879

o       Addresses limitations of SGML

o       supports cross-referencing facilities to uniquely identified elements in external documents

o       Extends SGML's reference capability to accommodate elements with no unique identifiers in the same document

o       Provides pointers or location addressing schemes that contain the necessary information in order to locate cross-referenced data

o       Independent of data content notations, link types, processing, presentation, and semantics.

o       Supports addressing by name, by position in the document, and by semantic construct.

o       Links can be established to documents that conform to HyTime as well as those that do not.


o       Allows all kinds of multimedia and hypertext technologies (whether proprietary or not) to be combined in any information product.

o       Addresses only the issue of interchange of hypermedia information NOT standardization of presentation (same as SGML), user interfaces, query languages etc.

o       Objects in a HyTime hypertext document can include formatted and unformatted documents, audio and video segments, still images, animations, and graphics.


o       Provides the notion of "Architectural Form" to SGML.

o  An architectural form is a syntax template around which a document author can build semantic constructs for linking and coordinate space addressing.

o       It is highly flexible and extensible.

o       The interchange format can be defined in Abstract Syntax Notation 1 (ISO 8824) and can be encoded according to the basic encoding rules of ISO 8825 for interchange using protocols conforming to the OSI model.

o       The full set of HyTime functionality supports "integrated open hypermedia", the "bibliographic model" of hyperlinking that allows links to anything, anywhere, anytime.


o       HyTime is intended for use as the infrastructure of platform-independent information exchange for hypermedia and synchronized and non-synchronized multimedia applications.

MHEG (Multimedia and Hypermedia Experts Group)



o       CCITT (Comité Consultatif International Téléphonique et Télégraphique, an organization that sets international communication standards) proposed the future international standard for multimedia and hypermedia information objects, known as the MHEG Standard.


o       MHEG standard - define the representation and encoding of multimedia and hypermedia information objects that will be interchanged as a whole within or across applications or services, by any means of interchange including storage devices, telecommunications or broadcast networks


Objectives of the MHEG standard include meeting the following requirements:

  • Provide a simple but useful, easy to implement framework for multimedia applications using the minimum system resources.
  • Define a digital final form for presentations, which may be used for exchange of the presentations between different machines no matter what make or platform.
  • Provide extensibility i.e. the system should be expandable and customisable with additional application specific code, though this may make the presentation platform dependent.




Amsterdam Hypermedia Model (AHM)

·        The Amsterdam Hypermedia Model (AHM) tries to tackle the complex timing and presentation relationships found in multimedia presentations.

·        AHM extends the Dexter model by adding high-level presentation attributes and link context.

·        Allows authors to specify how individual pieces of information relate to each other over a period of time.

·        Non trivial problem - dynamic and static objects fetched from distributed sources have to be synchronized.

·        Model must be able to define requirements for links, time, and global representation semantics in a hypermedia system.


Three approaches to synchronization within hypermedia:

·        Hidden structure approach

o       Places all information about the context and time-based relationships within the content portion of a component

o       Collections of different media are synchronized by internal techniques of a component

o       This approach does not change the hypermedia model but also does not scale very well when media from different servers are combined.

·        Separate structure approach

o       Opposite of the hidden structure approach

o       Each piece of multimedia information is an individual component

o       Collections of media are realized by multiheaded links.

o       It is the responsibility to start all objects simultaneously, or according to their timing-information

o       This can become a significant problem.

·        Composite structure approach

o       Groups a limited number of media objects together

o       Combines the advantages of the previous approaches

o       While complicated synchronization is avoided outside of components, collections are less complex than in the hidden structure approach.


·        AHM extends the definition of the Dexter component to capture these new requirements of time-based synchronization

o       Atomic component is expanded in thepresentation information section.

§         Some information used to model time-related aspects whereas others are used as high-level presentation attributes.

o       Presentation structure is encoded in composite components.

o       Timing offsets among the children of a component as well as composite type (either parallel or choice, meaning either all children or only one child gets displayed) are added to the composite specification.

o       Synchronization arcs are used to define the fine-grained temporal relations within components.


·        AHM defines the notion of link context.

o       Dexter does not define the behavior of components when a link is followed out of that component or affected by a linking operation.

§         Source context - that portion of components that are affected by initiating a link

§         Destination context is that part of the hypermedia presentation that is activated on arriving at the destination.

§         Context mechanism is used to allow the run-time environment determine appropriate display operations, i.e., whether to reload resources or not.


·        AHM defines channels as an abstraction of presentation attributes 

o       Channels are abstract output devices, which are used to define global characteristics for a certain media type such as volume for an audio channel.

o       During run-time these abstract channels are mapped onto physical output devices.


·        Timing constructs added by AHM to the original Dexter model allow the specification of time-based behavior of a document

·        Formal description of this behavior can be transformed and represented in any form such as HyTime

·        This allows the interchange of documents between different applications.


DeVise Hypermedia Architecture (DHM)

·        Extension to the Dexter Hypertext Reference Model from Aarhus University in Denmark.

·        Computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) raises several new requirements for hypermedia applications:

1.      explicit communication and coordination between team workers

2.      implicit coordination through shared materials

·        New notions had to be introduced to the model:

·        shared databases

·        event notification

·        open access from different platforms and from different

·        already developed applications.


·        Aarhus team identified six different modes of cooperation ranging from separate to fully synchronous sessions

1.      Mode of separate responsibilities – the material is divided into disjoint parts - material can only be inspected by other users, but not altered

2.      Turn taking mode – allows different users to work on the same material while no more than one user is working at a time - requires support for cooperation to coordinate work over time

3.      Dynamic exchange mode – users work at the same time on different objects, but are able to transfer locks on these objects from one user to the other.

4.      Mode of alternative versions – allows each user to develop her own version of a part -different versions of parts have to be merged later

5.      Mutual sessions mode – allows two or more users to work on the same material synchronously, using direct communication channels

6.      Fully synchronous sessions mode - all users share exactly the same view of the shared material.


·         First three modes directly supported by the hypermedia model.

·         The asynchronous cooperation can be provided by means of annotation or other methods of creating awareness among users about the use of the shared material.

·         Mode four needs the support of the storage layer to enable versioning of objects.

·         This is an ongoing research topic in database research and will be solvable on the database level.

·         The fully synchronous modes need some additional means of communication beyond the point that is currently available in the Dexter model.

·         Mode five and six differ mainly in whether a shared view of objects is provided or not. Whereas without shared view the synchronous cooperation is restricted to shared commitment of changes on objects, the shared view option would allow all users to see exactly the same state of an object. Changes on that object would immediately propagate to all users of that session.


·         DeVise Hypermedia Architecture (DHM) – proof-of-concept

·         Based on a distributed object system, DHM introduces several client and server processes compliant to the Dexter model.

·         Processes may run on different platforms and communicate over a network with each other.

·         The editor process is end-user oriented and integrates hypermedia facilities into conventional editors like text editors, video or audio editors, or hypermedia browsers.

·         Each editor is associated to a specific data object, i.e., to a specific type of component.

·         An editor's functionality belongs to the Dexter within-component layer.

·         Editors communicate to run-time processes to exchange anchor values with the storage layer.

·         The run-time process is a server for the editor process and is itself served by the OODB server process, which provides the physical storage facilities.

·         The run-time process instantiates the data objects of the physical storage layer at run-time and provides the basic link service independent of the editor type.