In the midst of collecting Web links to accompany one of my upcoming articles, I came across this page, still hosted somewhere in the depths of MSU’s oldest servers.
This “hypertext” in glacial geology dates back to 1999, when students in Geology 445 – Glacial Geology created the site. The date at the top of the page indicates that the site was last updated in December 2005, though the cheesy background images and massive, poorly-laid-out, blue-rimmed images and banners still remain to remind us of this page’s genesis in Web 1.0.
It occurred to me when I came across this site that we don’t really refer to Web pages as “hypertexts” anymore. In common speech, hypertext has become an adjective. We might say that a Web page is a hypertext document or a professor may write a hypertext textbook, but seldom do we write just plain, old hypertexts anymore. Heck, Firefox’s built-in spell checker doesn’t even recognize hypertexts, the plural, as a word.
Is anyone out there still writing hypertexts? What does it mean to write a hypertext? Can we still use hypertext as a noun, or has it become so common that it has been lost to adjectival realm forever?