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Eastgate Systems      Serious Hypertext


Eastgate Systems is pleased to announce two new awards for the best in hypertext on the Web. We hope you will explore this ongoing "Hall of Fame", and that you will send us your nominations.

HY STRUCT, the Hypertext Structure Site award, recognizes Web sites that exhibit thoughtful, effective, and innovative hypertext structure.

HY TECH, the Hypertext Technology Site award, will be given to sites that advance our understanding of hypertext through new tools, innovative technologies, or original theoretical and critical insights.

The HY STRUCT and HY TECH award winners are chosen by the staff of Eastgate Systems, Inc. New awards will be announced periodically.

We are eager to receive nominations for the HY STRUCT and HY TECH awards, either through the nomination form on this page or by email to

Nominate a site !





June 4, 1999

HY STRUCT AWARDDigital Moments

Hypertext writer Michael Joyce is fond of referring to "the inexorable nextness of the Web", but this 1996 cover page still holds interesting lessons. The title page is a patchwork of animated gifs that create a shifting montage, an interesting hypertext effect. The rest of the site is conventionally linear.

August 3, 1998

HY TECH AWARD Ee.3.59: The Life of King Edward the Confessor

This photographic archive of a notable 13th-century manuscript is nicely designed for browsing and for examining the manuscript's fine paintings. The design is much less useful for those who might want to read the manuscript; the needs of those who study the book as an artifact are not always identical to the needs of those who study the ideas they represent.

April 9, 1998

HY TECH AWARD TrueDoc Font Technology

Browsers normally use fonts that readers prefer, permitting readers to adapt the Web to their personal preferences for legibility and comfort. (Too many people still use Times; a previous HyTech award recognized some better choices now available without cost) At times, though, designers want to specify a specific font -- either to achieve a visual effect or to display specific glyphs -- dingbats or international characters -- that require a specific typeface.

TrueDoc technology -- built into Netscape and now available for Microsoft browsers -- lets Web designers use any font they need. Special software encodes the font and ties it to a single Web site, preserving the rights of font publishers. When a modern browser readers a page, it automatically downloads the encoded font information. TrueDoc compresses font shapes very efficiently -- a font often takes less space than a single GIF headline. Best of all, TrueDoc lets you style pages cleanly while avoiding graphics that can't be styled or searched. This page has used TrueDoc for months.

March 24, 1998

HY STRUCT AWARD My Boyfriend Came Back From The War

Olia Lialina builds a haunting, monochrome montage around the reunion of separated lovers. Montage -- juxtaposition of imagery (including, of course, textual imagery) -- is a powerful hypertext pattern, popular with writers whose systems support it gracefully (Intermedia, Storyspace) but often overlooked in the literature. Lialina's wonderful black-and-white artwork is singularly effective here, recalling Shelley Jackson's monochromes in Patchwork Girl and My Body -- a Wunderkammer.

March 9, 1998

HY TECH AWARD Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus

Because thesauruses are very large and densely-linked hypertexts with very small nodes, they make an interesting test case for visualizing large hypertexts. Plumb Designs creates custom applets that present interactive maps of complex structures; their Visual Thesaurus is a compelling demo. (Compare Dynamic Diagram's Web visualization, MAPA, for a different approach to animated hypertext visualization.)

March 2, 1998

HY STRUCT AWARD Singin' in the Rain: A Hypertextual Reading

Australian film scholar Adrian Miles writes a fascinating hypertextual reading of one key dance sequence from "Singin' in the Rain". Intricate hypertext structure gracefully supports a sophisticated exploration of the dance and its role in this influential film. This analysis builds on topics explored in his earlier case study,Storyspace on the Big Screen.

February 24, 1998

HY TECH AWARD Effective View Navigation

George Furnas, best known for his pioneering user-interace work on fisheye views, reviews theoretical requirements for building docuverses that can be navigated effectively. The core ideas are familiar but are argued with unusual coherence and rigor. One key conclusion -- that rich semantics are central to navigation -- echoes the current concensus on the Navigation Problem in individual hypertexts: undesired disorientation is indistinguishable from bad writing. (Recommended for readers who are not uncomfortable with set theory)

February 3, 1998


GeoCities provides free Web space to everyone, and their offer of free Web pages has attracted vast numbers of writers. Many are casual users indulging hobbies or special interests, but the care and sophistication of their pages is often remarkable.

If GeoCities' business model is to work, new 'homesteaders' need traffic -- the currency of the docuverse. A variety of internal recognition programs like this "A List" draw attention to interesting sites and promote mutual recognition (and link exchange) within the virtual community. Mechanisms like the A List are important for shaping Web taste and fashion, for promoting good design and good writing; they provide a centrifugal force that balances the efforts of mega-sites to focus attention exclusively on themselves.

January 26, 1998

HY Tech AWARD MAPA Web neighborhood mapping

A Java applet that displays a neighborhood -- usually a Web site -- in an exotic and unusually attractive isometric view. Notice the simple animation enacted when the focus moves from place to place; enactment keeps people oriented as a dynamic hypertext environment changes around them.

January 23, 1998


Mark Amerika's quirky, earnest, avant pop hypertext fiction has generated tremendous buzz. It might be interesting to study the dynamics of Grammatron alongside Moulthrop's Hegirascope and Kendall's "A Life Set For Two"; all three works, though very different, share a common interest in the kinetic word.

January 16, 1998

HY STRUCT AWARD Six Sex Scenes: a novella in hypertext

This remarkable and evocative web fiction, by Adrienne Eisen, is built around a complex but effective temporal counterpoint pattern.

January 14, 1998

HY STRUCT AWARD "Click" by John Barth (link may be temporarily off line)

A clever metafiction about the hypertextuality of everyday life. Intended for print, where the blue "links" are ironic, but also available on the Web, where they are merely inert (see "This is not hypertext: it is blue text"). Though Barth's story is not a hypertext, his use of links as an expressive device is masterful and repays close study.

January 8, 1998

HY TECH AWARD Free Web fonts

Microsoft offers a bundle of free fonts, for both Windows and Macintosh, that are intelligently designed for screen media. Better body and headline fonts help simple markup create cleaner pages, reducing the tempations of HTML abuse. If these free fonts become sufficiently pervasive, designers will be able to rely on them and we'll all enjoy faster, cleaner, and nicer typography on the Web. (It should be noted that this font giveaway competes with a Web font initiative from Adobe, which offers a bundle of superb and inexpensive fonts for the Web. As Adobe is in the business of selling fonts, they cannot be expected to match Microsoft's pricing)

January 7, 1998

HY TECH AWARD Scripting News

Dave Winer's Frontier is a cross-platform scripting language for personal computers. Frontier has many uses, but one of Winer's favorites is automating the production of news sites -- Web sites that, like this one, are built around frequent updates. Scripting News mixes opinionated personal essays with daily product support and development updates, a curiously effective mix. The lightweight design epitomizes Jakob Nielsen's minimalist design approach and simplifies automatic updating.

January 6, 1998

HY STRUCT AWARD Hegirascope 2

Stuart Moulthrop, author of the hypertext classic Victory Garden, revises this important Web fiction for a fresh appearance in the New River Review, Evanescent and dynamic, Hegirascope slides into view and then slips beyond the reader's grasp.

January 5, 1998


Usability expert Keith Instone surveys new Web writing pertinent to Web design and usability. His What's New page is a convenient way to keep abreast of changing thought and fashion, and the entire UsableWeb site is an interesting example of simple, low-overhead design.

December 19, 1997


John Katner creates an unusually effective example of "Poor Man's Virtual Reality" to explain great kivas -- a characteristic archaeological feature of the Chaco phenomenon in Southwestern North America. The use of three dimensions to visualize or structure hypertext has been problematic; this accessible archaeological site is one of the only convincing applications to appear.

December 18, 1997


A system for designing and enacting dramatic encounters between iconic characters. Programming by example, for kids, done elegantly and with flair. Free (See "Hypertext With Characters" for one example of how this technology is pertinent to hypertext)

December 17, 1997


Nancy Kaplan's influential hypertext essay on "Politexts, Hypertexts, and Other Cultural Formations in the Late Age of Print" was one of the first truly successful scholarly essays to embrace hypertextual form. Made with Storyspace.

December 16, 1997

HY TECH AWARD Jakob Nielsen's useit

An opinionated and always-interesting column on usability and Web design. Nielsen was one of the first proponents of minimalist Web design -- Web pages that eschew graphic effects but that load very quickly -- a trend now sweeping the Web. Updated on the 1st and 15th of the month.

December 15, 1997

HY STRUCT AWARD My Body -- a Wunderkammer

This hypertext by Shelley Jackson, the author of the celebrated Patchwork Girl, applies geographic hypertext to explore the geometries of the author's body.

December 12, 1997

HY STRUCT AWARD Valley of the Shadow

A fascinating approach to historical hypertext by Ed Ayers, a prominent historian of the American South. Through massive data collection efforts, a team of researchers is building a vast network of recorded facts on the lives of every soldier from two selected counties, one Union and one Confederate. Hypertext narrative emerges as a key to making sense of individual and national fate.

December 11, 1997

HY TECH AWARD Walden's Paths

The Texas A&M Team of Rick Furuta, Cathy Marshall, and Frank Shipman adopt Scripted Paths to provide topical guided tours of the Web. Polle Zellweger's Hypertext '89 paper on paths isn't online, but Peter Gloor's summary is, and it's quite good. One of the first projects to apply the best of classic hypertext research to the Web.

December 10, 1997

HY STRUCT AWARD "No Soup, Just Matzoh Balls"

Part of Abbe Don's collaborative site, Bubbe's Back Porch, this hypertext memoir creates an interesting counterpoint structure, a link pattern evocative of the tension between being young and frightened in the old country, and growing old in the new.


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