More Complete Information
With hypertext on the Web, I can include links to the works I've cited (for those works available on the Web), providing more immediate information, more complete information (from the perspective of readers being able to see the entirety of the cited work), thereby aiding expression. I don't have to obtain the author's permission to send readers to that work through a link. I'm simply telling readers where the whole of another work can be found; I then provide them with a means of easily getting to that work. In a printed text, I would provide similar information about where to find a work I've cited. If readers of the printed text are interested in seeing the primary work I've cited, they must either search their shelves if the work is one they possess or they must go to the library and find the text in the traditional way: look up a call number, walk to the physical location of the work, pull it off the shelf or load it into a microform machine. The hypertext link is simply a way of helping readers get information if they want it. The "scope" of the text, I would say then, is only limited by the information available and by readers' willingness to pursue an interest. (The scope of Web documents is basically defined by readers, rather than by the text or the author.) The Web has such vast amounts of information and is so diverse that we can say the scope of the text is nearly limitless (and almost immediately accessible). Barthes' vision of the ideal text is a nearly reality on the World Wide Web.
The Scope of Web Documents Entering the Conversation
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