Open Hypertext

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"Open" hypertext is about hypertext which isn't confined to the boundaries of a single system, be it web browser, text editor, video streamer or midi player.

An open hypertext system achieves this openness or exensibility through a LinkService or StructureService which undertakes the management and deployment of the hypertext links independently of the documents or data which are being linked.

A significant outcome of this idea was the OpenHypermediaProtocol, an effort over many years of the OpenHypermediaSystemsWorkingGroup. The use of the protocol was demonstrated at the 1998 ACM Hypertext Conference in Pittsburgh, where three different hypertext environments talked to each other on three separate machines.

Open Hypermedia is almost possible in a Web environment; the XLink standard allows for databases of independent links but does not (yet) provide clear semantics on how they should be used. Various research systems have retro-fixed link databases to Web pages.

Open Hypermedia is almost possible on the desktop in the form of Microsoft's SmartTags.


Are Smart Tags a form of OpenHypertext, or a form of GenericLink? (-- MarkBernstein)
Smart Tags is a technology that provides recognizers to identify source anchors in Office documents and actions to generate destination anchors. If a recognizer matches anything from a list of words then you can make it behave exactly like a generic link. It can even get its list of words from an XLink linkbase! However, a recognizer can effect all sorts of calculations, network interactions and semantic inferences, behaving with all sorts of degrees of freedom that clearly distinguish it from a generic link.

No really, Mark was right, wasn't he? (--LesCarr)
It depends how you define GenericLink! If Generic Links are entries in a linkbase in which there are no constraints on the source document or position then no. If they are destinations with a rule about where to attach them to a document then yes. The current limitation on the recognizer API - it provides no document context apart from the current piece of candidate text - mean that things tend to look as if they could have been generated by generic links.

But wait, there's more! (--LesCarr)
In fact, both ends of a Smart Tag are generic. Corresponding to Ashman's concept of a FunctionalLink, a function is invoked not only to calculate the source anchor but the destination anchors as well.

See Also:

-- Last edited October 27, 2002

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