Future Work

Previous Section: The Hypertext/Hypermedia Field

The future agenda for the field remains very busy. The current research threads are still active and some are still in their infancy. Some research thread are coming together or interacting between each other as the protagonists in different research threads recognize the value of other research threads and incorporate the concepts into their own research. Nevertheless, as the field advances, new threads may be created as different facets of a problem are uncovered revealing an unexpected complexity.

An example of research threads that are coming together is Structural Programming, where the enhanced role of structure allows integration with Spatial hypertext [Nürnberg and Leggett 1997]. This research thread has ambitious goals as it proposes an evolution of the whole field to a new paradigm of computing. While the acceptance of this new paradigm by the industry is still to be seen, there are signs pointing in that direction. More and more applications are integrating linking capabilities and operating systems are adding linking functionality. This area of hypertext may prove to be one of the most influential.

Also Spatial hypertext and Time-based hypertext are coming together in systems such as Walden Paths [Furuta et al. 1997]. The integration and interaction of different research fields do not compromise the integrity of threads rather they validate the threads. This is the case of Spatial hypertext research thread. More and more other research threads are validating this research by including their concepts into their thread. Nevertheless, spatial hypertext still may improve by better spatial parsers that also include the concept of time and the process of creation.

Time-based hypermedia and time-based media are still evolving rapidly. New complexities are found and new research threads are being formed from these threads. For instance one research thread derived from time-based media and time-based hypermedia is hypervideo or hyperfilm. This thread is still developing standards and investigating the rhetoric and aesthetic properties of video and how to link it with other media. Better authoring and media-based querying systems need to be created. This research intersects with the rhetoric research thread as the new rhetoric and aesthetic qualities are just being discovered for this new media.

From the artistic and literary point of view, there is still a big dependence of the paper world. Nevertheless new genres of hypertext are being created continuously. These genres require different support from the systems and help driving the systems research in different directions.

Due to the actual and predicted influence in modern society of the WWW, research is currently conducted in order to expand the model and incorporate the lessons learned from other research threads.

Summarizing, the hypertext and hypermedia field is a busy area of research and development that is providing relevant advances for the whole computing area and society as a whole. Far from reaching a stagnant state the field is busy with activity an its relevance its being acknowledged by including their concepts and lessons in other areas of computing. Also there are still many areas that are being discovered and need to be explored within the hypertext and hypermedia field.

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