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For the purposes of this thesis, hypermedia will be broadly defined as the combination of hypertext linking mechanisms and multimedia content [Bolter, 1991, pp. 25-7]. The idea of hypermedia (although it was not called this at the time) dates back at least to a visionary paper by Vannevar Bush [Bush, 1945], which described a theoretical machine to augment the human intellect, based on trails of information. The underlying hardware for this machine, called the Memex, was envisaged as being based on microfilm as computers were still in their infancy. Nevertheless, all the key ideas that have been realised in systems like the World-Wide Web are displayed in this article.
Multimedia is the provision of information in more than one medium. Medium is a term that is used somewhat loosely in the literature. One use is the form of the information: text, still image, moving image, or sound. A different use of the term is the mechanism used to deliver that information: paper, screen, audio or video tape, audio or video disc, and CD-ROM. Of course, these uses are somewhat interrelated; there are only certain valid combinations of information form and delivery mechanism. The technologies to provide such multimedia information are treated in greater detail below.
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