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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-000-00-0054


Applications and Impact of Hypermedia Systems: An Overview

Jennifer Lennon (Hypermedia Unit, Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Hermann Maurer (IICM, Graz University of Technology, Austria, New Zealand)

Abstract: "Hypermedia" is a term that is widely misunderstood and misused, often loosely associated with hype about new applications of computers to multimedia. The term "multimedia" is also frequently used with too narrow a meaning. Few people appreciate the likely consequences of the new technology in all its ramifications. This paper is an attempt to show what impact the new technology will have on many aspects of life. One thing is certain: the impact will be tremendous and irresistible. Before long, organisations won't be able to afford not to use hypermedia.

We believe that the definition of "multimedia" must be generalised from the usual one (a mix of text, pictures, graphics, animations, video and sound) to include 3D objects, 3D models of scenes of arbitrary complexity, interactive movies, diagrams, maps, CAD drawings and much more. A hypermedia system can be defined as multimedia, with links, embedded in a network, i.e. a networked system supporting the storage and retrieval of linked multimedia and the real-time transfer of this data among the terminals in the network.

It can be argued that hypermedia systems can revolutionise work, leisure, and lifelong learning.

Applications of hypermedia discussed in this paper include:

  • Administration: A fully integrated system such as the one proposed will mean efficient data processing and valuable statistical data.
  • Electronic orientation and information displays: Electronic guided tours, public information kiosks and publicity dissemination with archive facilities.
  • Electronic Personal Assistants: Hypermedia systems will turn into powerful personal digital assistants as they make information and communication available when needed.
  • General Information and Communication Systems: Distributed information systems for purposes such as businesses, schools and universities, museums, libraries, health systems....
  • Lecturing: A system going beyond the traditional to empowerboth teachers and learners.
  • Libraries: A further step towards fully electronic library systems.
  • Directories of all kinds: Staff, telephone and all sorts of generic directories.
  • Research: Material can now be accessed from databases all around the world. The effects of networking and computer supported collaborative work are discussed and examples of new scientific visualisation programs are quoted.

The paper concludes with a section entitled [Future Directions].

Keywords: CAI, CSCW, Hyper-G, Internet, collections, conferencing, converging technology, e-mail, electronic lecture room, electronic personal assistant., electronic publishing, hyperlinks, hypermedia, kiosks, libraries, life-long learning, multimedia