A quick look at theory will help us understand how early experimentors hoped hypertext would work. We bring to a text all of our memories, ideas, emotions, and so forth. To assimilate new information, we must be able to connect it with things we've already experienced-even if the new information and the old experiences don't fit just right. By making connections between the text and previous experiences, we create what is called a schema. "Prior knowledge does not exist as lists in our minds. Instead, prior knowledge exists as numerous schemata. A schema functions as a unified system of background relationships whose visible parts stand for the rest of the schema'".
This webbing of sensory contacts that produces knowledge empowers "both our comprehension and our memory". Being able to make connections equals being able to comprehend. And the more connections the reader can make, the better grasp he or she will have on the new information.
The schema helps the reader build a reading of the text. "When one reads to comprehend, one's primary aim is to construct an integrated representation of the text. Put differently, during reading for understanding, most of our effort is devoted to 'putting the text together' to construct an understanding of how ideas work as a whole". Schriver's comment that we understand text better as a whole suggests that the most effective links between the schema and the text are made between concepts and ideas, not just bits of data. Once we've "put the text together," we can also take it apart.
Also in this report :
Timeline of Hypertext
The Current State of HTML