Paths And Tours

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Hypertexts are often large and tangled: as TedNelson declared in Computer Lib, "Everything Is Intertwingled!" Guided tours are intended to help new readers find their way by showing them

  • highlights and landmarks of the hypertext

  • the boundaries of the hypertext -- what is and isn't there

The classic paper on guided tours -- generally regarded as among the best hypertext papers of all time, is:

Zellweger, Polle T. (1989). "Scripted Documents: A Hypermedia Path Mechanism". Proceedings of Hypertext'89, New York: ACM. (pdf: [1])

A notable Web implementation of Scripted Documents is Walden Paths [2] from Furuta, Shipman, et al. at Texas A+M.

The Wiki community has recently (July 2002) taken up a simple scripted path mechanism in its new inter-wiki Tour Bus scheme [3]. Like many aspects of Wiki Nature, this scheme is remarkably simple in its implementation, readily built by readers, and yet seems sufficiently flexible to achieve its goals.

PathsAndTours may be seen as a form of (or an alternative to) AdaptiveHypermedia. They form a virtual structure in the sense of the Halasz SevenIssues. Bus tours and web rings are a grand CyclePattern.

-- Last edited October 27, 2002

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