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  Notes on my thesis for CyberMountain

Filomena Bomfim

 

I am researching into what I hope will be a thesis about how information is organized in the hypertextual formats of the electronic versions of the biggest Brazilian newspapers: Folha de São Paulo, EStado de São Paulo, Jornal do Brasil, O Globo e Estado de Minas.

When I mention effective I am trying to highlight that kind of information which can change people's behaviour towards a specific matter. As hypertext has been a tool to display information in a different media - the Internet WWW - I am studying hypertext in terms of a new kind of text. According to my initial research, it seems that hypertext is the virtualization of the ordinary types of text we see on the traditional media (television, radio, newspapers and so on). Because we live in a time in which the image is of great importance, hypertext tend to be closer to images than to texts themselves, in order to catch the attention of the demanding readers on the net. This kind of people want to find the information they are looking for a quick as possible, in the format they want, whenever they want, following the just-in-time philosophy of the end of this millenium. So information on hypertext has to be clear, concise, objective and easily located in order to reach this high level performance. I assume there has to be a project in which, navegability in a site should be deeply analysed to come to terms with its main goals: conciseness, clearness, objectiveness and easily located information.

  In addition to it, the links have to be carefully selected as well to attend to the high selective readers' demands. As a result, the six principles of hypertext defined by Pierre Lévy should not be neglected in any way. They are the principle of metamorphosis (the need for a constant change in the hypertextual structure in a site); the principle of heterogeneity (the links in a hypertextual structure are always different); the principle of multiplicity of links and interconnection of their scales; the principle of inward aspect(the feeding information should come from outside the web); the principle of association of ideas among the links; and the principle of mobility of the centres. In fact, the links are the essence of hypertext, because it makes the surfing on non-linear texts easier. It also permits the accommodation of an unimaginable amount of information. In this framework, the readers become the editor of the text they decide to build, because they can establish particular semantic liaisons due to their choices among the hypertext routes. So I would dare to say that readers can build completely different journeys throughout the same site in order to attend two different areas of interest or background information. So it is the readers' interests that create their own text in a hypertext structure.

  Consequently the original message can be considerably altered/distorted in its foundations due to the semantic liaisons developed by a single reader. Such assumptions bring to discussion matters related the authoring of the web hypertexts. Furthermore, this context appears to emphasize the possibility of a public tex, in which each reader would stimulate the birth of a new version of the original text opened to new additions made by each new reader/author, on a constantly building scenario.

  Considering a probable hypothesis, I would like to consider the possibility of disinformation permitted by the hypertext structure among its readers. Despite the fact of putting the readers in contact with a considerable amount of information, the hypertext structure also confuses them as a result of being open to many ways of approaching the same subject at the same time. Also, the various misinterpretations possibilitated in its structure adds less clearness to the matter to non-experts in a specific problem. In addtion to this, the high level of interactivity in the web sites brings to discussion which text the reader is in contact with: the original one or another one among the various possibilities. So, the hypothesis I would like to discuss is that at the end of a surfing journey internauts could be misinformed because of the overdose of informatin to which they are subjected.

  I feel it is a very complex discussion and also I have not found many researchers on this field in Brazil. So criticisms/opinions/comments/suggestions would help me to develop a more coherent work. For the time being, I am researching on Pierre Lévy and Jean Chantier. As a result, all data concerning them and others who work on the same field are welcomed.