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Project 3: Linear Text to Hypertext

Write a linear essay, memoir, argument or article, and then "remediate" the material into a non-linear, hypertextual Web site or CD-ROM.

Before you begin chunking and visualizing your linear text, consider for a moment your audience: not only the value your hypertext will offer your audience, but also how your audience will come to get it.

If you're posting the hypertext on the Web, for instance, will it be a subsite of your personal site? If so, what will you call the links from your home page? What scenario can you imagine by which someone visiting your site will want to click that link? Or will it be a stand-alone site? As with any

If you're intending the hypertext for a CD-ROM, how will your audience physically obtain the disk? Why a CD-ROM rather than the universally acessible (though technically more restrictive) medium of the Web?

Unlike the annotated page or the visual/verbal experiment we've done so far, the Linear Text to Hypertext involves a translation of a complete print text to a complete hypertext, a final product that must find its niche on the Web or in the economy of CD-ROMs.

The following are a few general priorities we'll strive for in remediating content from print to digitial media:

  • iconology: In moving from print todigital form, you'll want to "visualize" your subject with pictures, maps, diagrams, either placed on the page with the text or available as clickable annotations. You'll also want to unify all the pages by repeating certain visual elements (a banner, for instance) that create a consistent sense of place or "brand." In this
  • texture: In words and images, you want to create a sense of voice, of immediacy, or of experience (rather than just giving a lot of information). Try to bring from your original text the interest and energy of your own voice and perspective. While a Web site is perhaps not as easy to make personal as a personal essay, it does not have to be impersonal and dull.
  • hypertext: When you wrote your essay, you could expect a reader to read from the first word to the last, sequentially and completely. Not all readers will live up to that expectation, but that's their fault! When you make a Web site, however, you can't expect the same thing of "users." You need to reorganize the presentation your subject matter into non-sequential "chunks" (pages) that you'll make available through a menu of links. These links will be expressed as a set of verbal labels that should be meaningful to the audience, and give the audience a kind of map of your subject matter.