Generic Link

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The most familiar kind of hypertext link is the "simple" link, a link that connects one page to another. Links of the Web are simple links.

Generic links (sometimes called "implicit links") are triggered whenever the reader selects a particular word or phrase. For example, a generic link for "Widget-0361" might connect any mention of Widget-0361 to that widget's maintenance history. In a Wiki, each WikiWord is a generic link.

Many systems allow writers to limit generic links to specific scopes, so they might apply only within a particular document or a particular section of the document. Multiple link destinations may be offered, or the system may try to select the best link destination from a range of possibilities after considering the reader's past reading, the current context, and/or a model of the user's preferences.

It's especially easy to imagine how this might work with WikiWiki, because different wikis often have the same page name, but with a different take, whatever's relevant to that wiki's main topic. Multiple links could be offered in a contextual menu by web browsers, or a specialized WikiBrowser (like TinderBox).

Generic links are important to OpenHypertext and AdaptiveHypertext.

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Related: TyrannyOfTheLink, Microcosm, LinkTypes

-- Last edited October 27, 2002

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