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Digital Hypertexts vs. Traditional Books: An Inquiry into Non-Linearity

Authors: Federica Fornaciari

Abstract:

The current study begins with an awareness that today-s media environment is characterized by technological development and a new way of reading caused by the introduction of the Internet. The researcher conducted a meta analysis framed within Technological Determinism to investigate the process of hypertext reading, its differences from linear reading and the effects such differences can have on people-s ways of mentally structuring their world. The relationship between literacy and the comprehension achieved by reading hypertexts is also investigated. The results show hypertexts are not always user friendly. People experience hyperlinks as interruptions that distract their attention generating comprehension and disorientation. On one hand hypertextual jumping reading generates interruptions that finally make people lose their concentration. On the other hand hypertexts fascinate people who would rather read a document in such a format even though the outcome is often frustrating and affects their ability to elaborate and retain information.

Keywords: Hypertext reading, Internet, non-linearity.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1077736

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