Information Prose :: A Manifesto in 47 Points :: Version 1.0
by Jeremy P. Bushnell, firstname.lastname@example.org
39. There is nothing about hypertext that
demands that a story incorporating it must be written with forking
paths and multiple endings.
40. Hypertext writers who write
"closed" hypertexts — works that only contain links to other parts of
themselves — deprive hypertext of its most radical feature: the ability
to refer to information outside of itself. The bibliography is the
41. Information prose writers should embrace the
elements of hypertextuality which aid documentary. Think of the
hypertextual features long used by encyclopedias (cross-references).
Information prose writers should, furthermore, embrace the elements of
multimedia which amplify the power of documentary. Compare an
encyclopedia with illustrations to one without. Compare a traditional
encyclopedia to Encarta.
43. To put it in the words of a friend: "You can now footnote a sound."
Inasmuch as the Web supports hypertextuality and (to a lesser extent)
multimedia, the Web helps to make information prose possible.
However, the Web is not the only thing that makes information prose
possible. Information prose is not dependent on hypertextuality, and
hypertextuality is not dependent upon computers. Think of indexes,
think of tables of contents, think of the numbers in the corners of
46. Aside from the merits of supporting hypertextuality
and multimedia, there are other advantages of writing for the Web, two
of the most obvious being the ability to make unlimited copies and the
ability to distribute copies worldwide at minimal (or no) expense.
These merits have been amply written on elsewhere. There are obvious
disadvantages as well. Information prose writers should support and
contribute to efforts to overcome these, which will help to secure the
Web as a vital medium for their future expression.
47. The present is here. It it time to begin. Pass it on.