Text Types in Hypermedia

Abstract

The discipline of narratology has long recognized the need to classify documents as instances of different text types. We have discovered that classification is as applicable to hypermedia as it is to any other document presentation. Following the work of S. Chatman (1978; 1990), we consider three such text types: description, argument and narrative. The goal of a description document is to describe some object or concept; this is usually achieved by describing component parts and then describing how those parts combine to constitute the entirety. An argument document, on the other hand, is concerned with establishing some assertion or point of view, and it is based on supporting evidence, as well as possible refutations and justifications for defeating those regulations. Finally, a narrative document recounts some sequence of events in time, addressing relationships such as causality and contingency among those events. We analyze these types through case studies that give an example of each as a hypermedia document. We then argue that this classification provides an organizational framework that facilitates the construction of outlines that serve the writer in preparing the actual content of a document. Such outlines can also benefit the reader’s understanding of the content that the writer intended to convey; if the writer does not make those outlines available explicitly to the reader, the reader can use knowledge of the document type to construct his own version of those outlines. Finally, we review some early work in content based indexing and search of multimedia documents