hypertext, technique for organizing computer databases or documents to facilitate the nonsequential retrieval of information. Related pieces of information are connected by preestablished or user-created links that allow a user to follow associative trails across the database. The linked data may be in a text, graphic, audio, or video format, allowing for multimedia presentations; when more formats than text are linked together, the technique is often referred to as hypermedia. Hypertext applications offer a variety of tools for very rapid searches for specific information; they are particularly useful for working with voluminous amounts of text, as are found in an encyclopedia or a repair and maintenance manual. See also information storage and retrieval; World Wide Web.

See G. P. Landow, ed., Hyper/Text/Theory (1994); J. A. Lennon, Hypermedia Systems and Applications: World Wide Web and Beyond (1997); D. Lowe and W. Hall, Hypermedia and the Web: An Engineering Approach (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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