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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
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
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
June 4, 1999Digital 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, 1998Ee.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
April 9, 1998TrueDoc 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, 1998My 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, 1998Thinkmap 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, 1998Singin' 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, 1998Effective 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, 1998GeoCities A-List
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, 1998MAPA 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, 1998Grammatron
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, 1998Six 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"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, 1998Free Web fonts
Microsoft offers a bundle of free fonts, for both Windows and Macintosh,
that are intelligently designed for screen media.
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, 1998Scripting 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, 1998Hegirascope 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, 1998Usable Web
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, 1997Sipapu
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, 1997Cocoa
A system for designing and enacting dramatic encounters between iconic
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, 1997E-Literacies
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, 1997Jakob 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, 1997My Body -- a Wunderkammer
December 12, 1997Valley 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, 1997Walden'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"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.