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Category: Interactive Text Glossary Entry

Active Reading

Knowledge workers are frequently called upon to perform deep, critical reading involving a heightened level of interaction with the reading media and other tools. This process, known as active reading, entails highlighting, commenting upon, and flipping through a text, in addition to other actions.….

Reading is not passive. Reading is highlighting, underlining, and annotating. It is showing relationships, taking notes in the margin, and elucidating the structure of a  document. It’s moving papers and lining up pages to compare just the right paragraphs with each other. It is jumping non-linearly between and within documents for comparison and search [O’Hara 1996; Liao, Guimbretiere et al. 2008]. 

LIQUIDTEXT: SUPPORTING ACTIVE READING THROUGH FLEXIBLE DOCUMENT REPRESENTATIONS  A Dissertation Presented to  The Academic Faculty  by  Craig S Tashman  In Partial Fulfillment  of the Requirements for the Degree  Doctor of Philosophy in the  School of Interactive Computing

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StretchText is a hypertext feature which hasn’t gained mass adoption in systems like the WWW, but which gives more control to the reader in determining what level of detail to read at. Authors write content to several levels of detail in a work.

StretchText is similar to outlining, however instead of drilling down lists to greater detail, the current node is replaced with a newer node. This “stretching” to increase the amount of writing, or to contract it gives the feature its name. This is analogous to zooming in to get more detail.

Ted Nelson coined the term around 1967.

Conceptually StretchText is similar to existing hypertext system where a link provides a more descriptive or exhaustive explanation of something, but there is a key difference between a link and a piece of stretchtext. A link completely replaces the current piece of hypertext with the destination, whereas stretchtext expands or contracts the content in place. Thus the existing hypertext serves as context.


Storyspace Placeholder/’Transclusion’

Though Storyspace 3 strives to avoid modes, combining all its extensions in a single formalism, one modality cannot be avoided. The Storyspace reader clicks to follow links, but the writer and editor must be allowed to click to select and revise text.  

Storyspace 3 leverages this long-extant and seemingly- inescapable modal behavior to support generalized stretchtext  through macro expansion.  When writing, we may insert placeholders that can be interpreted by the performance engine. For example, the placeholder  


will be replaced, in the reader’s view, by the text of the note

Cicero in the container “sayings”. Similarly,


will embed a link with the specified anchor, If the link is clicked, the anchor text will be replaced by the contents of the designated note, and an optional action may be performed in order to record a change of state.

Storyspace 3 Mark Bernstein Eastgate Systems, Inc.


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Random Destination (Link)

If the reader has not clicked on a text link, and if no basic links are found, we next examine the value of the current deck, a list of string tokens. If the current deck is empty (as it is in all Storyspace 1 documents),  

Storyspace 3 waits for an explicit selection. If the current deck isnot empty, however, Storyspace 3 gathers a pool of all notes for which  

• the note’s $Deck has a term in common with the current deck

• the note’s $Requirements are satisfied.

• the note is unvisited or, if no eligible note is unvisited,

the note has not been visited more than any other eligible note.  

If more than one such note is found, one note is chosen at random from the eligible set, and that note becomes the destination.

Storyspace 3 Mark Bernstein Eastgate Systems, Inc.



There is of course no reason why random links could also be incorporated into general hypertext.

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