In this chapter, Bolter promises that hypertext is the
fulfillment of the semiotic revolution theorized by Peirce,
Saussure et al. Semiotics is a useful way to understand
the economy of interpretation in hypertext because hypertext
makes literal the theory that semioticians use to explain
language. Hypertext allows the reader to trace the
"interpretant," or the system of signs creating meaning for a
particular sign; by the links they choose they can see what
informs a particular "sign." The computer system actually serves
as the interpretant. Hypertext also embodies a semiotic system
because the system is self-contained; the "signs can only lead
you elsewhere in the same system." The reader must learn a new
strategy of reading, "cooperating" with a text that explicitly
contains it own means of interpretation, and that "unambiguously"
holds the mysteries to its intertextuality. (Kristin
David Bolter. "Electronic Signs." Writing Space:
The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing.
Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1991. 195-206.
Text: Selective Annotated Bibliography.
Department of English, University of Minnesota
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Created 5 May 1995
Last revised 17 September 1996