Dexter Reference Model

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In 1990 a workshop was held on hypertext standardisation at which various models of hypertext were discussed. One of the results of this workshop was the Dexter Reference Model, the goal of which was to allow easy comparison between systems and thus work towards interoper-ability standards.

The model divides hypertext systems into three layers.

  1. The Runtime Layer contains all the facilities a user requires for constructing and browsing a hypertext.

  2. The Storage Layer represents the actual structures of the hypertext (e.g. links and nodes).

  3. The Within-Component Layer represents the content/structure inside each of the nodes.

There are two interfaces that connect these layers:

  1. The Presentation Specifications Interface lies between the Runtime and Storage layers. It describes how the runtime layer is to represent the objects in the storage layer.

  2. The Anchoring Interface lies between the Storage and Within-Component layers. It describes a mechanism for addressing locations or items within the content of an individual node.

The Dexter Reference Model was a major step forward in hypertext research because not only did it describe n-ary links and composite nodes (no HypertextSystems at the time supported both these features), but also as it represented a major collaboration between hypertext researchers and institutions.

See Also:

  • The DeviseHypermedia system was built specifically both to prove the validity of the Dexter Reference Model and demonstrate its flaws.

  • The AmsterdamModel extended the Dexter Reference Model to describe MultiMedia presentations.

  • TrellisModel (another hypertext model)


Proceedings of the Hypertext Standardization Workshop
Judi Moline, Dan Benigni, & Jean Baronas (eds), National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 500-178, 1990.

The Dexter Hypertext Reference Model
Frank Halasz & Mayer Schwartz, CommunicationsOfTheAcm, 37(2), 30ñ39, 1994.

-- Last edited October 27, 2002

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