David Kolb

Writing Online and in Hypertext

The Revenge of the Page

A study of link patterns in web hypertexts, showing how traditional tree-structured single-jump links between long pages, typical of, say, Wikipedia, have eliminated the more complex multi-link path patterns found in early hypertext writing.

Making Revision Hyper-Visible

Proposals for ways to make revisions to a complex multi-linked hypertext document work seamlessly to improve the document yet remain visible as revisions.

Hypertext as Subversive?

An essay in hypertext form exploring the ways hypertext could deal with borders and walls in writing and academia. Universities are said to be places of critical discussion and evaluation that train new cognitive explorers, make better maps, and also create new territories for exploration. We are all familiar with the internal walls that limit that creativity. These walls may be implicit in the very idea of a university. Could hypertext linking help resist and subvert those walls, and undo what is too often the university’s one-way meta-position?

Association and Argument: Hypertext in and Around the Writing Process

While hypertext is often claimed to be a tool that especially aids associative thinking, intellectual “work” involves more than an association. So, questions arise about the usefulness of hypertext tools in the more disciplined aspects of scholarly and argumentative writing. Examining the phases of scholarly writing reveals that different hypertext tools can aid different phases of intellectual work in ways other than associative thinking.

Twin Media: Hypertext Structure Under Pressure

This essay reports on issues that arise in composing a large argumentative hypertext associated with a book version of the same project. It concerns not the old navigation problem for the lost reader, but the construction problem for the uncertain author. The essay discusses link patterns, the intentions of readers and authors, and the pressure of the book upon the structure of the hypertext.

Scholarly Hypertext: Self-Represented Complexity

Scholarly hypertexts involve argument and explicit self-questioning and can be distinguished from both informational and literary hypertexts. After making these distinctions the essay presents general principles about attention, some suggestions for self-representational multi-level structures that would enhance scholarly inquiry, and a wish list of software capabilities to support such structures. The essay concludes with a discussion of possible conflicts between scholarly inquiry and hypertext.

Socrates in the Labyrinth: Hypertext, Argument, Philosophy

A hypertext essay collection investigating whether non-linear hypertext writing might provide new ways to “do” philosophy. One long essay and four shorter examples of different modes of hypertext presentations of philosophical arguments.