Dynamic Alternatives
PO Box 59237
Norwalk, CA 90652

Sent: Tuesday, September 24, 2002 8:37 AM

Mr. Morris E. Jones
Intel Corporation
350 East Plumeria; Mail Stop CHP3-105
San Jose, CA 95124
Subject:   Bridge to a New Way of Working Begins with Study


I don't think that the problem is links in themselves, but in using links as the *only* path to information.
It should be possible to read and understand any document without following the links it contains. Deeper understanding should come from following the links. A document with no links leaves me in a position of either having to accept what is said or to do extensive research on my own.

When a document of any sort is readable on its own but provides easy access to source material, I think we get the best of both worlds. This is what is done with footnotes, references, and bibliography I formal documents.
The use of some mechanism such as "Purple Numbers" in published documents allows links in electronic media, and human readable forms in hard copy.

When a document provides enough of the content of the referenced material so that it can be read without recourse to the links, the links can then provide a route to further information, not to content that is necessary to read the document.
Note also that part of the problem has to do with the presentation system. For email to work for everyone, it must be readable in plain text. Links in plain text are long and ugly. In a document which can support links properly, they can be quite unobtrusive and yet available and useful.

In short, I don't think that the question of links is an "or" question. I think that we need both readable content *and* links. I definitely believe that in a task oriented environment, communication should be constructed with access to the source information in order to provide for far better alignment with objectives and history than that provided by human memory alone.
Note that unless the original material is exceptionally well structured, transclusion doesn't always do what you want. In most cases some paraphrase that brings different parts of the original into juxtaposition is what will communicate best. I still remember the disaster of writing a term paper directly from my not cards instead of using them as a basis for my writing.


Garold (Gary) L. Johnson