CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work

Paper Report

Title: Hypertext and Collaborative Work: The Example of Intermedia
Authors: George P. Landow
Citation: Intellectual TeamWork: Social and Technological Foundations of Cooperative Work (pp. 407-415, 423-428), edited by J. Gaelgher, R. Kraut, and C. Egido, 1990, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Reprinted in: Baecker, R.M., Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, pp. 523-530

This paper discusses about Intermedia, a networked hypermedia developed at Brown University. By blurring the distinction between the author and reader, Intermedia allows, encourages, and demands a new modes of reading, writing, teaching, and learning.

Intermedia supports three models of collaborative work: work with or together, versioning, and assembly-line. Hypertext and hypermedia have two interesting properties: 1) any document placed on the system potentially exists in collaboration with any and all other documents on the systems 2) any document electronically linked to any other document collaborates with it.

This paper has an interesting article on authorship and authorial property. Print technology exaggerated the notions of authorial individuality and ownership that often drastically falsify the conception of original contributions. There is also no way of refuting a printed text. Conversely, hypertext systems destroy the separation and univocal voice of printed text, and change the limits of the text by allowing a reader to both annotate individual text and link it to order.

Intermedia was one of the largest and the most fully developed hypertext and hypermedia system used for teaching at the college and university level. Here, Landow presented the In Memoriam, an Intermedia collaborative project done by students of the undergraduate seminar in Victorian poetry.


  1. Can the Web do better than Intermedia?
  2. HTML anchors are one-way links. Will that be a limitation?

Report prepared by: Yew Kuan Choo Email: ykchoo@cs.tamu.edu
Discussion date: 03-05-97 Report date: 03-07-97