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Renee's Academic Realm\ My Works \ Essay 1.4

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And of course I can go on and on to talk about the differences between a hypertext and a print text, but that is the least I want to do here. What I hope to achieve with this piece is to bring to attention that there ARE differences between hypertexts and print texts, and create awareness to some of the differences and issues pertaining to these differences, through a first-hand account of my experience of reading hyperfiction (I felt that it would be more interesting to share my experience here, rather than to embark on the topic on a serious note). It is definitely pointless to cough out an exhaustive list of differences, for I believe, first of all, that this is mission impossible. Secondly, I believe that many people would have already tried to do it, and it is definitely better to consult their work [i] .

What then, as one would naturally ask, are some of the cultural ramifications of this electronic era? Has a 'lazy' reader been produced? What will the future generation, or even the present generation be reading? Given the new possibilities opened up by hypertexts, and the limitations of print texts, will print texts die out in this rat race? I don't know how the rest feel, but certainly for me, I would not like to see the death of print texts. It is true that hypertexts offer so much convenience and advantages, but it is also true that what a print text can offer, you cannot find it in a hypertext. While it is true that de-spatialization creates room for endless information, at the touch of your fingertips, perhaps one may like to think about this question of whether in this age of information-explosion, is it not a blessing, sometimes, to have a sequenced text to follow, one that doesn't give you a headache or painful back from long hours of sitting, even when all you want is just to relax with a good story to read?

 

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[i] Here is a site to visit for a discussion of concepts, terminology and issues pertaining to Hypertext: Keep, Christopher, Tim McLaughlin and robin. The Electronic Labyrinth. 1995. http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/elab/elab.html (18 Feb 2000).