RICHARD R. ORSINGER
Attorney at Law
1616 Tower Life Building
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 225-5567 (Telephone)
(210) 267-7777 (Telefax)
(210) 268-8888 (ISDN Modem)
I. SCOPE OF ARTICLE.
II. WHAT IS HYPERTEXT? WHAT IS HYPERMEDIA?
III. DIGITIZING INFORMATION.
A. Defining the "Universe" of Information.
B. Converting to Digital Form.
C. Embedding HTML Codes.
IV. CREATING NODES OF INFORMATION.
A. Creating Different Levels of Generality.
B. What is a Usable "Chunk" of Information?
C. How Will the "Chunk" be Accessed?
V. CREATING LINKS BETWEEN NODES.
A. Linking From a Chronology.
B. Linking From Pleadings.
C. Linking From Exhibit Lists.
D. Linking From an Outline.
E. Linking From an Alphabetical Index.
F. Linking From a Search Engine.
VI. DISPLAYING THE INFORMATION.
A. Your Computer Screen.
C. Remote Monitors.
D. Projection Devices.
VII. WHAT SOFTWARE DO YOU NEED?
A. HTML Authoring Software.
B. Internet Database Publisher.
C. Web Browsers.
1. To Buy Netscape Navigator
2. To Obtain Microsoft Explorer
I. SCOPE OF ARTICLE. This article suggests a new
paradigm in document management (actually, information management) for litigation. The suggestion is that
we should use World Wide Web (WWW) browsers as the
access software to access our documents and all other
information relating to a case. This will require that the
documents be digitized and the text placed in HyperText
Markup Language (HTML). This is not so hard to do,
now that Corel WordPerfect 7 permits you to translate a
Wordperfect document into an HTML-coded document
automatically. Once your documentary materials are
HTML-coded, you can use any WWW browser to view
the materials, be they textual, photographic, video, or
whatever. You will even be able to create demonstrative
exhibits which you can show to the court or jury on a
monitor or computer projector, that move, blink, etc.--all
the things that you see right now on the WWW.
II. WHAT IS HYPERTEXT? WHAT IS HYPERMEDIA? Hypertext is textual material that contains
"links" which, if you click on them with your mouse
pointer, "send" you to other information. This other
information can contain links that send you to yet other
information. Hypermedia is like hypertext, except that
the material which you link from and to can be text,
graphics, audio, video, animation, or images. Here are
some descriptions of hypertext and hypermedia taken
from the WWW.
Description of HyperText No. 1:
Hypertext is a means by which clicking on a
picture or work will take you to another page
of relevant information. It was first proposed
in 1945 by an author known as Vannevar
Bush, and the term Hypertext was coined in
1965 by Ted Wilson. HyperCard originally
operated on this principal, and the World Wide
Web also operated on this principal.
Description of HyperText No. 2:
What are WWW, hypertext and hypermedia?
WWW stands for "World Wide Web". The WWW project, started by CERN (the European Laboratory for Particle Physics), seeks to build a distributed hypermedia system.
The advantage of hypertext is that in a hypertext document, if you want more information about a particular subject mentioned, you can usually "just click on it" to read further detail. In fact, documents can be and often are linked to other documents by completely different authors -- much like footnoting, but you can get the referenced document instantly!
To access the web, you run a browser program. The browser reads documents, and can fetch documents from other sources. Information providers set up hypermedia servers which browsers can get documents from.
The browsers can, in addition, access files by FTP, NNTP (the Internet news protocol), gopher and an ever-increasing range of other methods. On top of these, if the server has search capabilities, the browsers will permit searches of documents and databases.
The documents that the browsers display are hypertext documents. Hypertext is text with pointers to other text. The browsers let you deal with the pointers in a transparent way -- select the pointer, and you are presented with the text that is pointed to.
Hypermedia is a superset of hypertext -- it is any medium with pointers to other media. This means that browsers might not display a text file, but might display images or sound or animations.
Description of HyperText No. 3:
A program that provides multiple pathways through the text, enabling the user to follow existing Hyperlinks, to link-related items of text and/or graphics, or retrieve linked cross-references, in a non-linear and 'random-access' manner.
In Hypertext, certain pictures or words are highlighted; users click on them with a mouse and move to a linked image or page of information. With many different choices the user will go through the information in an unusual way, circumventing traditional alphabetical or hierarchal modes.
Description of HyperText No. 5:
A hypertext is a database system which provides a unique and non-sequential method of accessing information. The essential features of hypertext are nodes and links. Nodes can contain text, graphics, audio, video, animation, and images while links connect nodes related in a certain manner. It is the linking capability which allows the non-linear organization of text. We have seen some of the pioneers in this field and some of the systems they built which have paved the way to understand better the theoretical and practical aspects of hypertext.
Description of HyperText No. 6:
2. Basic Features of a Hypertext System
A Graphical User Interface, with the help of browsers and overview diagrams, helps the user to navigate through large amounts of information by activating links and reading the contents of nodes.
An authoring system with tools to create and manage nodes (of multiple media) and links.
Traditional information retrieval (IR) mechanisms such as keyword searches, author
searches etc. There are also attempts to incorporate structure queries along with content
queries - retrieving a part of the hypertext
network based on some user- specified criteria.
A hypermedia engine to manage information about
nodes and links.
A storage system which can be a filesystem or
a knowledge base or a relational database
management system or an object-oriented
database management system.
Description of HyperText No. 7:
The concept of hypertext has been around for
a long time. The dictionary and the encyclopedia are very old forms of hypertext. These can
be viewed as a network of textual nodes joined
by referential links. The Talmud, with its
heavy use of annotations and nested commentary, and Indian epics such as Ramayana and
Mahabharata (stories branching off to other
stories) are ancient prototypes of hypertext
Description of HyperText No. 8:
Hypertext parallels human cognition and
facilitates exploration. We think in nonlinear
chunks which we try to associate with each
other and build a network of concepts. When
we read a book, we go back and forth a number of times to refer to previously read material, to make notes, and to jump to topics using
the table of contents or the index. When we set
out to write a document we first develop an
outline of ideas. Then, we brainstorm, write
down on paper, organize, revise, reorganize
and repeat the cycle till we are satisfied with
the outcome - a coherent document. In fact,
we have been forced to adapt to traditional,
linear text because of representation on paper.
Description of HyperText No. 9:
Thus, both reading and writing processes
emphasize a lot on the non-linear nature of
thinking, a natural process in human beings.
Human cognition is essentially organized as a
semantic network in which concepts are linked
together by associations. Hypertext systems
try to exploit this basic nature of cognition.
Description of HyperText No. 10:
What is Hypertext?
Hypertext. The word . . . is one that has also
been appearing with increasing frequency
during the last couple of years in the news
media and the academic world. But exactly
what is hypertext? How does writing hypertext
differ from writing text as we always have?
Ted Nelson coined the term in the 1960s to
describe "'nonsequential writing--text that
branches and allows choices to the reader, best
read at an interactive screen. As popularly
conceived, this is a series of text chunks
connected by links which offer the reader
different pathways'." (quoted in Landow,
1992, p. 4) And, although he didn't use the
same word, Vannevar Bush is often credited
with introducing the idea of hypertext in his
prescient 1945 Atlantic Monthly article, "As
We May Think." Bush, then director of the
Office of Scientific Research and Development, had coordinated the activities of several
thousand scientists during World War II, and
in this essay began to consider what goals
scientists should turn to once the war was
over. He posited a machine (never built) he
called a "memex" that would enable people to
index texts in a way that mimicked the associative nature of the human mind. Although it
relied on microfilm for storage rather than on
magnetic tape, the device he described had
many features familiar to today's computer
users. A desk with multiple screens embedded
in its surface (i.e., like windows on today's
computer screens) would keep different texts
and pictures in view simultaneously, and a
reader could create a "trail" of associations
through microfilmed texts that could be recalled as needed. "It is exactly as though the
physical items had been gathered together to
form a new book. It is more than this, for any
item can be joined into numerous trails"
(Bush, 1945, Section 7).
It was some forty years before Bush's ideas
were brought to a wider public. Since the late
1980s a number of software applications have
been introduced that draw on the hypertextual
concepts of Bush, Nelson, and other pioneers.
As readers and/or writers, Taylor's students
encountered three of these applications:
HyperCard, Storyspace, and HTML.
How does hypertext affect the way we read
and write? Consider this article; it contains a
large number of references--to published texts,
to students' writing, to people's names. In the
online version, these are not just references.
Many of them are also hypertext links, which
may appear boldfaced or underlined on the
screen. When I refer to The Autobiography of
Benjamin Franklin in print, you can, of course,
go to a library or bookstore or your own shelf
and examine the text for yourself. In hypertext, however, I link that title to an online
version of the book, and you can look at it
immediately. This may just sound like a footnote, yet there's a crucial difference. Footnotes
in a written text are always subordinate to the
main text, but that is not necessarily true in a
hypertext. Once I make a link to another text,
and a reader refers to it, the linked text may
become more important to the reader than
mine. As Carter Butts, a Trinity junior concentrating in systems theory, aptly puts it, "The
author of a hypertextual work does not create
a history, he creates a space...it is the reader
who creates a history by choosing the order in
which subtexts are reached."
Description of the WWW No. 1:
The WWW world consists of documents and
links. The Web contains documents in many
formats. Those documents which are hypertext
contain links to other documents, or places
To follow a link, a reader clicks with a mouse
(or types in a number if he or she has no
mouse). To search and index, a reader gives
keywords (or other search criteria). These are
the only operations necessary to access the
entire world of data.
Description of the WWW No. 2:
The Internet and the WWW protocol.
The Internet is steadfastly becoming a highly
popular medium for the distribution and communication of ideas and knowledge. During
the recent years the Internet has attracted more
than 20 million users for a total of 1.5 million
host machines, achieving growth rates of at
least 1 million new users per month. At this
moment, the Internet is already the largest
global communication network. The Internet's
structure or set-up is however most peculiar
and very much unlike any other mass-medium
of communication. Its typical characteristics
such as a decentralized principle of operation (and control), and the possibility of
fast and close interaction between 'information consumer' and 'information producer' can be contrasted to those of the
other media as the publishing and film
The World Wide Web (WWW) and its associated Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HHTP)
were designed to retain the positive aspects of
network anarchy and at the same time provide
consumers and producers of information a
more friendly and efficient interface to knowledge. This was achieved by introducing a
protocol that controlled both knowledge representation and user interface.
The WWW adheres to a distributed principle
of knowledge representation which means
knowledge is stored as a network of nodes and
links. Nodes' can contain any combination of
plain text, images, sounds as well as movies.
Links connect individual items from a certain
node to any other node, according to the
author's or web master's preference and taste,
hence forming a network of nodes connected
via links. As for the user interface, the user is
expected to retrieve information by traversing
meaningful links from node-items to other
nodes, thereby making associative judgements
that will, from a certain start position, lead to
the node containing the desired information.
The WWW is structured by human designers
that use their intuitive ideas of knowledge
structuring and semantics to construct their
nodes and sub-networks. These individual
contributions are gradually connected to the
larger body of knowledge that is already
contained within the WWW, thereby expanding the content of the overall network. In our
view, the WWW is structured and behaves to
a large extent as a learning (McClelland &
Rumelhart, 1986) and self-organizing network
in which the network's special principle of
knowledge organization and retrieval interacts
with the constant influx of new contributions.
The WWW is expected to become a huge
future 'encyclopedia' of the whole of human
knowledge representing the shared knowledge
and semantics of all its users and contributors.
(Mayer-Kress & Barczys, 1994)
III. DIGITIZING INFORMATION. In order to use
computers to access and display information, the information must be digitized. Digitized information can be
stored and transported much more readily than paper-based information. Non-digital information can be
digitized by typing it using a word processor, or scanning
it as a graphics file. Text can be scanned and then optical
character recognition software can convert the images
A. Defining the "Universe" of Information. In order to
create an information management system for a particular
case, you must decide what will make up the "universe"
of information which you will store, access, and display
using computers. Obvious choices in a lawsuit would
include: all documents filed with the court clerk; all
depositions (text files as to the transcriptions and video-files on important portions of video-depositions); all self-generated aids (like chronologies, outlines, exhibit lists,
legal memos, trial briefs, appellate opinions on law
points, etc.); all raw documentary material produced in
discovery; photographs of physical exhibits; etc.
B. Converting to Digital Form. In order to use a Web
browser to access and display information, the information must be digitized, or put into digital form so that it
can be read by computer programs. Information can be
digitized into a graphics file, so that it can be visually re-created, or it can be digitized into a alphanumeric file, so
that it can be processed (by a wordprocessor, spreadsheet
program, etc.) If all you're going to do with the information is to display it on a screen, or projector, or print it,
the information can be digitized as a graphics file. If you
want to be able to edit the information, or perform word
searches on it, you will have to digitize the information as
an alphanumeric file. Digitizing as an alphanumeric file
is a slower process, and requires not only scanning
software but also optical character recognition software,
which takes the scanned image and converts it into ASCII
code, which is the code for letters and numbers. A
possible device that can be used to digitize information is
PaperPort Vx. This product, by Visioneer, Inc. permits
you to scan paperwork, photographs, etc., and to convert
it to wordprocessing files, HTML-coded files, to fax it, to
send it over the WWW, etc. Informational materials on
the product are attached. The Author has not used the
product and cannot relate personal experience about the
product. [See p. BB-8 below.]
C. Embedding HTML Codes. WWW browsers react to
seeing HyperText Markup Language (HTML) codes.
HTML codes cause the material in a document to exhibit
certain characteristics when viewed using a WWW
browser. For example, to center the phrase "Exhibit List"
you would type the following: <center>Exhibit
List</center>. The HTML equivalent of a hard return is
<br>. A link from the document or node entitled "Exhibit
List" to the node entitled "Exhibit 3" in the same directory on the same hard drive would be: <A
HREF="Exhibit 3">Exhibit 3</A>. These HTML codes
can be typed with a simple wordprocessor, or with an
HTML editor, which is software specifically designed to
mix wordprocessing with HTML codes.
If you use Corel WordPerfect 7 as your wordprocessor, you can automatically convert a WordPerfect
document into an HTML coded document, using the
"Internet Publisher" command on the "File" menu. Thus,
if you can get your pleadings, or depositions, or whatever
text you want, into a WordPerfect 7 file, you can convert
it automatically to a WWW document that can be read by
a WWW browser.
IV. CREATING NODES OF INFORMATION. In
hypermedia parlance, information is stored in "nodes"
that are "linked" together. Nodes could contain some or
all of a document, or photographs, or selections of
deposition videotape, etc. The collection of nodes, with
the links between them, could be called an "information
A. Creating Different Levels of Generality. The
"information space" should be constructed with different
levels of generality. The highest level of generality is for
use by newcomers to the "information space" who are
still trying to become more familiar with the "information
space," or by persons familiar with the information space
who want to navigate through the information space at a
high level. In the context of litigation, a high level of
generality could for instance be a chronology of events,
with links to more specific information on each event.
Another high level of generality could be a list of proposed exhibits. You could click on a particular exhibit
name in order to go to that exhibit in the "information
space." If the exhibit is a document, the user could link
to either an image of the document or a text version of the
document. If the exhibit is a photograph, the user could
link to the photographic image. Raw material in your
"information space" would be at the lower levels of the
B. What is a Usable "Chunk" of Information? In
hypertext or hypermedia, it is important to break information down into usable "chunks." It is not effective to link
to a 50 page document, and then to try to progress
through that document page-by-page on the screen.
Typically hypertext "information spaces" break large
works into smaller "bite-sized" chunks. The smaller
chunks can be linked sequentially, if you want to be able
to read through the document from start to finish.
However, even long documents in one "chunk" can be
handled if they are textual and subject to word searches,
or if they contain pointers or bookmarks which permit
you to jump to particular places in the document.
C. How Will the "Chunk" be Accessed? In determining
what should be included in a "chunk" of information (that
is, in a particular node), you should consider how the
node will be accessed. If the information in the node is
textual and will be searched using boolean search software, then more information can be placed in the node,
since reading through it sequentially will not be likely. If
the node is a photograph, it will be accessed as a whole.
However, links could be imbedded in the photograph
where other nodes contain closeups or different views of
the same subject depicted in the photograph. If the node
is a drawing or diagram, different places in the item could
contain links to explanatory materials, close-ups, etc. If
the node contains videotape, it will probably be accessed
as a whole, and should contain only the videotape that is
pertinent to the issue. For example, if a witness testifies
three different ways on a certain point during a videotaped deposition, each version of the testimony should be
stored in a separate node, and the nodes then linked
together. You might even want an extra node that plays
the three excerpts one-after-another.
V. CREATING LINKS BETWEEN NODES.
A. Linking From a Chronology. Links can be imbedded into a chronology, through the date, through the
description attributed to a certain date, or through markers
associated with a particular entry (including endnotes).
B. Linking From Pleadings. Links can be imbedded in
your pleadings or your opponent's pleadings, leading to
information relating to the portion of the pleading where
the link is embedded.
C. Linking From Exhibit Lists. If you want to be able
to quickly display textual, or graphical, or photographic,
or video material, and you can anticipate in advance what
it will be, you can prepare an exhibit list, and embed a
link for each exhibit. When you want to display on your
computer screen or projector a particular exhibit, you just
click on the link on the exhibit list.
D. Linking From an Outline. You can also prepare
your own outline of the facts of the case, or the legal
issues, and link from your outline to sub-outlines, exhibits, legal memos or briefs, appellate cases, secondary
materials, all of which you have placed into nodes in your
E. Linking From an Alphabetical Index. You can also
create an alphabetical index of witness names, etc., and
link from that alphabetical index to information relating
to that person. However, with word-search capability, it
is not as necessary to alphabetize a list, since the search
capability can find the name or item regardless of its
order in the sequence.
F. Linking From a Search Engine. If you want to be
able to find a term anywhere in the "information space,"
you will need a search engine that can identify textual
information in nodes. Indexing software that indexes all
text files on a disk could possibly be adapted to this use.
The search capabilities on the browser cannot be used for
this purpose, since that can only search the file which has
been brought into the browser for examination. However,
there is software on the market which conducts searches
of HTML files, and it is likely that these can be used to
search HTML documents on a hard disk, floppy disk, or
VI. DISPLAYING THE INFORMATION.
A. Your Computer Screen. The most obvious way to
display digitized information is on your computer screen.
This will be most useful in the office or at counsel table,
when you want to display the information only for you to
B. Printing. Digitized information can also be displayed
on paper using a printer. The printouts can be marked as
an exhibit, stored in ring binders, mailed, etc.
C. Remote Monitors. You can display digital information on television monitors stationed around the
courtroom. When the monitors are on, and you click on
a link, the monitor will display whatever information is
contained in the node to which you connected.
D. Projection Devices. The price of three-color projectors of computer images has been coming down. So has
the size and weight. You can now buy three-color
projectors that are about the size of a briefcase.
VII. WHAT SOFTWARE DO YOU NEED?
A. HTML Authoring Software. In order to create
nodes and links that can be read by a Web browser, it is
necessary to code the information in the nodes in Hypertext Markup Language, and to insert links between the
nodes. While this can be done with an ordinary wordprocessor, it is easier to do if you have HTML authoring
software. The HTML codes can all be typed using a
wordprocessor, but HTML authoring software has buttons
that type certain codes for you, etc. Basic but adequate
HTML authoring software costs around $ 90.00. HTML
authoring software is built into WordPerfect 7. You can
create a new document in HTML if you select "File," then
select "Internet Publisher," then select "New Web Document."
WordPerfect 7 can automatically convert a wordprocessing document into an HTML document which can be
read by a Web browser. Select "File," then select "Internet Publisher," then select "Publish to HTML." This
automatically converts your wordprocessing document
into an HTML document, ready to be read by a Web
Reportedly, the programs in Microsoft's Office 97
program (Word 97, Access 97, PowerPoint 97) will have
an "auto web link" feature, where the software recognizes
your typing a WWW address (Uniform Resource Locator,
or URL) and automatically converts the URL into a
B. Internet Database Publisher. There is now software
on the market that permits you to publish, in WWW
browser-ready form, information contained in a database.
One such product is Corel's Web.Data software.
C. Web Browsers. To navigate through a hypertext
information space, you need hypertext navigational
software. While many hypertext navigation programs
exist, this Article focuses on the use of a World Wide
Web browser to navigate. The principal WWW browsers
are: Netscape Navigator, America On-Line browser,
Netcom Cruiser, Mosaic, and Microsoft Explorer.
According to a Netscape WWW page:
Two recent studies show that Netscape Navigator is the most popular Web browser. A full
87.6 percent of respondents to a recent
International Data Corporation (IDC) survey
said they use Netscape Navigator. IDC reported that the nearest competitor has 2.6
percent of browser users. In a similar study,
Dataquest reported that Navigator has an 84
percent market share.*
*IDC's Global Internet User Survey, July
1996, © 1996 International Data Corporation
Dataquest Corp., April 1996.
According to the IDC survey, the usage numbers for these browsers are: Netscape Navigator (87.6%), America On-Line browser
(1.3%), Netcom Cruiser (2.0%), Mosaic (2%),
and Microsoft Explorer (2.6%).
1. To Buy Netscape Navigator. You can download an evaluation copy of Netscape Navigator for free on the World Wide Web. The downloaded software is a complete and fully functional version. If you do not purchase the product within 90 days, your copy will expire. However, once you purchase the Netscape product, you have the rights to a complete downloaded copy, 90 days of technical support, a special FTP site for downloading, and various subscriptions that permit you, for an additional fee, to take advantage of upgrades issued within a certain period of subscription offerings. See http://merchant.netscape.com/netstore/
2. To Obtain Microsoft Explorer. Microsoft Explorer is Microsoft's web browser. It can be obtained for free from Microsoft's WWW site. See http://microsoft.com/
ie/offers/default.htm. It is comparable in power and
features to Netscape Navigator. Microsoft Explorer
comes with Win95, and can be triggered by clicking on
the icon on your screen depicting a globe with the label
"The Internet." Bill Gates has said that Microsoft Explorer "will always be free forever."
VIII. CONCLUSION. The suggestion that the information relating to a case be digitized and put into an "information space" containing nodes and links is not revolutionary. What is somewhat unusual is the idea that instead of putting the information into a proprietary software product where you are committed to the future of a particular vendor, you can put your information into HTML-coded nodes, and then access that information almost effortlessly, using a simple WWW browser, which can display text, photos, sounds, videoimages, etc. At this time, an integrated product for this purpose does not exist. However, by inter-relating a few readily available software products, you can create your own hypertext "information space" that is easy to use, and that can be used by anyone who knows how to operate a WWW browser. If you put the "information space" on a computer tied to the Internet, with some security controls to keep out unwanted people, you can actually put your "information space" onto the WWW, where it can be accessed by affiliated persons working the same project, regardless of where they are located. This approach would permit more collaboration between persons in different places, accessing the same shared pool of information at different times.