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Definition: hypertext


A linkage between related information. Hypertext is the major feature of the Web, enabling users to click or tap a link in order to switch to another part of the same page, another page on the same site or to a website anywhere in the world. Hypertext is the umbrella term for all links, whether appearing as text (word, phrase or sentence) or as an icon or other graphical element, the latter technically called a "hypergraphic." The terms "hypertext," "hyperlink" and "link" are synonymous. See hypermedia, live link and virtual hypertext.

The term was coined by Ted Nelson in 1963, but his vision was more expansive than the one-way links of today's Web. Nelson proposed two-way linking and support for non-hierarchical organization (for more information, visit www.xanadu.com).

Three Decades Later
In 1991, the Web was developed by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at the CERN European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland. Although the Web did not embody hypertext as Nelson envisioned it, the Web's hypertext created the largest information explosion the world has ever witnessed. See World Wide Web.