Hypertext is text which is not restricted to being linear. It contains links to other texts and other media. It branches like Choose Your Own Adventure books but can have millions of choices.

The term was coined by Ted Nelson around 1965.

Hypertext also refers to a form of electronic writing, an information technology, and a mode of publication. "By hypertext," Nelson explains, "I mean non-sequential writing—text that branches and allows choices to the reader, best read at an interactive screen." (Italics mine.)

HTML, the Hypertext Markup Language, was conceived as a way to do this "non-sequential writing" Nelson described.

All of this sounds very dry and academic but it isn't. Hypertext is where the magic lies.

The simple act of clicking a link (or tapping a link on a tablet device) can do something as mundane as providing a definition for a word or as exciting as taking you to another part of the planet.

To create a hypertext link, make an "anchor" tag.

A hypertext anchor tag starts with: <a href=

a - anchor
href - hypertext reference (where the link should go)
= - equals

add a destination URL: "http://traveloutbackaustralia.com">

and an onscreen representation for the link: Another Part of the Planet

Then close the anchor tag: </a>

The complete hypertext link in your HTML document would look like this:
<a href="http://traveloutbackaustralia.com">Another Part of the Planet</a>
And onscreen it would look and function like this (use your browser's back button to return to Webwork) :
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Simple Truths (and Complex Lies)

The Built World
Semblance Portrait Project
Back to Square One
Changing Chicago
Chicago's Reliance Building
Along the Mississippi River
The Work of Antoni Gaudí

Morocco 2023
Beecher, Illinois
Iceland 2017
Cuba 2015
Providence, Rhode Island
Greece 2013
Eastern Europe 2013
Israel 2010
Paris, France
Puebla, Mexico 2009
Puerto Rico 2009
Barcelona 2007
Rome, Italy 2006

Graphics, sounds, and other ancient
items from the dawn of the Web.


Jay Boersma