The Web


Although this week’s reading was mainly centred around the concepts of reading and writing, it also brought my attention to the very simple idea of ‘the web’. It might seem completely obvious, but it is interesting to think about why the World Wide Web is titled that way. Using the metaphor of an infinitely large spiders web has helped me to grasp the idea behind hypertext and multilinear texts in general. The very straight-forward explanation of the World Wide Web on Wikipedia is ‘a system of interlinked hypertext documents’. As with hypertext, points on a spider’s web are connected by different links or ‘trails’ (a term coined by Bush’s ‘Memex’) and there are several different pathways to get anywhere on the web, none having a particular entry or ‘departure’ point. This idea of an audience member, ‘not coming through the front door’, but dropping through the lounge room ceiling of the text, was something I also picked up from last week’s reading on hypertext. Similarly, in regards to multilinear narratives such as ‘Titanic: Adventure our of Time‘ (the CD-ROM), even if 5 different users/readers began the ‘story’ at the same place, they would most likely follow 5 different pathways, ending up at 5 very different positions in the plot.

I wonder what ‘the web’ metaphor for a linear book would look like? Most probably a single string of ‘proteinaceous silk’ that isn’t attached to anything…

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