Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Connection Between Hypertext and Wikipedia

In the article “Hypermedia and Literary Studies”, Paul Delany and George P. Landow discuss how hypermedia can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage to students. Students may find hypertext beneficial to their studies. Hypertext and hypermedia allow students to easily find articles that are on the subject that they wish to study. Once they find a suitable article, they are then able to find other related articles that could further their studies. This could also help when students are trying to find multiple sources. On the other hand, students might not find the exact article they need. This could potentially lead to more unrelated articles. Also, hypertext and hypermedia can be modified by readers. This could make a “bad” article better, or it could make a “good” article worse.

 A great example of hypertext/hypermedia is the popular website Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that is free to the public. It also allows anyone to post their own articles and entries. Because of this, Wikipedia has a vast collection of articles on almost every subject. Not only are readers allowed to post their own articles, Wikipedia also allows readers to edit or add on to any article that they feel needs to be edited. This can be beneficial as well as harmful.

 For a student, Wikipedia can provide many useful articles on any subject. A student can also look up information simply for the sake of gaining knowledge in a field of their interests; it does not have to be used academically. However, most teachers strongly advise students not to use Wikipedia for their homework or studies. This is because anyone can edit an article to make the information false, or they can simply post an article that contains false information. As stated in the Hypermedia article, printed books are considered finished once they are printed; hypertext is not finished until it is printed. Because of this, Wikipedia will never be “finished” and will always contain false information. IT is not always easy to tell which articles are trusted and which are not.

Personally, I love the .hack anime/manga/video game series, and I found a wiki that I found useful. It is not from Wikipedia, but it works in a similar way that it provides links to similar articles that may provide extra information. This would not be useful for a student, but it can provide anyone with information for their personal interests, like Wikipedia.

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