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Making Connections

A major benefit of hypertext is that it allows the material from different subjects to be connected together. For example, a literary work, such as Les Miserables could be linked to historical information about the French Revolution, which would help the reader to situate the work in its proper perspective and add meaning to the novel as a part of a much larger structure. No longer will subjects be confined within the depths of their own realm.

They will be able to branch out through the use of hypertext in new ways, ways impossible with traditional texts. Sound and other forms of hypermedia can be used to connect history with fiction, animated maps can show changes in political or geographical structures through time, and subjects that may have been the domain of separate departments within a school can be united and shown to have common underlying threads and motives.

Hypertext allows the reader to be placed in a situation that is closer to real life, since it reveals the interconnectedness of subject areas in a way that traditional texts with their scope focusing on one content area cannot.

The connections in hypertext also draw on readers prior experiences and knowledge. By giving readers freedom and control over the text, hypertext encourages readers to use their prior knowledge and experiences to guide them through the text. It is these experiences that provide the backdrop for the readers' interests, and these interests help them choose their path through the text. The structure of hypertext does not require prior knowledge, however, because by using links, the same text can contain information for readers of all levels of knowledge, making hypertext ideal for readers of different abilities.

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