Name Links: an Aesthetic Discussion

Antonini, Alessio and Brooker, Sam (2023). Name Links: an Aesthetic Discussion. In: HT '23: Proceedings of the 34th ACM Conference on Hypertext and Social Media, ACM, article no. 20.



A correspondence between the link in hypertext and the sign (both semiotic and linguistic) is well established. Consisting of source and destination, links parallel the signifier and signified of the semiotic and linguistic sign, as they do wider models and approaches to intertextuality. Deeper investigation of the connection between the sign and the link is, however, a currently rather neglected area for hypertext. Better understanding the complexities of the semiotic sign, however, can be beneficial for the epistemology of hypertext and more generally for understanding the complex meaning the link engenders.

To link or not to link - and to what - is an equivalently nuanced question for hypertext. In closed hypertext, such decisions are, while important, more limited in scope; in open hypertext, however, links represent a form of delegation (or sharing) of authority and responsibility. This contribution explores this aesthetic dimension of hypertext design, through reference to the semiotics of names developed through a case study on name links.

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