Here is the author! Hyperlinks as constitutive rules of hypertextual communication

Sabrina Mazzali-Lurati
2007 Semiotica: Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies  
In this paper, we examine the importance of hyperlinks in revealing the presence of the hypertext author and his decisive role in defining and controlling the dialogue with the user/reader through the hypertext. This is essential in order to adequately describe all the factors involved in hypertextual communication and how this communication takes place. In hypertexts and hypermedia, hyperlinks on the one hand define the possible directions of hypertextual communication and, on the other hand,
more » ... on the other hand, their strategy of manifestation shapes the user's process of interpretation. Because of these two important 'powers' hyperlinks have, and on the basis of John Searle's distinction between constitutive and regulative rules, hyperlinks can be defined as constitutive rules of hypertextual communication, set by the author, needing to be activated by the reader, and determining di¤erent utterances in the interaction happening during the navigation between the author and the user/reader. In the paper, after having described the semiotic-communicative structure of hyperlinks and the process of interpretation they require, the character of constitutive rules of hyperlinks will be illustrated by analyzing di¤erent dialogues generated by di¤erent hyperlinks in two particular kinds of hypermedial applications: hypertextual transpositions of classic literary texts and hyperfiction.
doi:10.1515/sem.2007.074 fatcat:55rmzenmojdv7gqwozw2wvzgki