WWWeb Hypertext Style
by Jerry Tutsch, Copyright © 1996
Cross ReferencesIt is common in books to place references in the text to other parts of the book. These are called cross references. Generally cross references are made to chapters or sections rather than to specific page numbers. This is because it is more difficult to keep page number references correct as a book is being edited and produced.
The excessive use of cross references in books is discouraged because of the disruption they cause the reader. Jumping to another section of a book makes it difficult for the reader to follow the linear flow of ideas. Furthermore, the reader needs to physically keep track of where to return after the jump. Executing a sequence of several cross reference jumps while reading a book is very disruptive. Consequently, including multiple cross references in a book is taken to be a sign of poor (linear) writing style.
Cross references in hypertext documents should be easy for the author to implement and are easy for the reader to use. When sections of a hypertext document are given meaningful names, the names themselves can serve as in-context cross reference links. Hypertext browsers generally include a history list facility and back/forward buttons which makes it easy for the reader to return to their original place in the document after following a trail of cross references.
Since the reader of a hypertext document can often get to a section of the document in several different ways, providing good cross references takes on added importance. Well designed cross references in a hypertext document is a sign of good (nonlinear) writing style.
As is the case with books, excessive cross referencing in hypertext documents can lead to disorientation on the part of readers. Cross references should not be used in place of a hypertext index or a hypertext table of contents.
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Created using HyperText ToolÝ, at 11:53 AM, on 4/3/96. The document is located at: http://www.execpc.com/~tutsch/HTT-W3HTS/top.html.