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n Introduction to Hyperlink

What is a hyperlink?

A hyperlink is similar to a quotation in a literature. It is a reference to another document or resource in a hypertext document. When combined with a data network and suitable access protocol it is used to fetch the resource referenced. This is then viewed, saved, or displayed as part of the referencing document.

Hyperlinks are part of the foundation of the World Wide Web created by Tim Berners-Lee.

Hyperlinks are presented and formatted in number of ways on a web page. The most common format is the embedded link that occurs within a sentence.

Discovery of the hyperlink

Theodor Nelson had coined the term Hyperlink between 1964 to 1965. It was done at the beginning of the project Xanadu. His inspiration comes from the essay As We May Think by Vannevar Bush. In the essay, Bush described a microfilm-based machine in which one could link any two pages of information into a "trail" of related information, and then scroll back and forth among pages in a trail as if they were on a single microfilm reel. The closest contemporary analogy would be to build a list of bookmarks to topically related Web pages and then allow the user to scroll forward and backward through the list.

Nelson implied this knowledge to specific text strings rather than whole pages, generalized it from a local desk-sized machine to a theoretical worldwide computer network, and advocated the creation of such a network. During the same time a team led by Douglas Engelbart with Jeff Rulifson as chief programmer was the first to implement the hyperlink concept for scrolling within a single document (1966), and soon after for connecting between paragraphs within separate documents (1968).
Instructions for creating the error pages

Various types of hyperlinks

  • Links are specified in HTML using the <a> (anchor) elements.Hyperlinks are integral to the creation of the World Wide Web as they link to every unit of information to any other unit of information over the Internet

  • XLink is an XML linking language which is specially W3C recommended XLink describes simple and extended links for hyperlinking from, within, and between XML documents.
  • PDF documents,
  • word processing documents,
  • spreadsheets,
  • Apple's HyperCard and many others.

Importance of Hyperlinks in the World Wide Web

Page rank is a method used by Google to measure link popularity. This generally helps in deciding which page should be ranked first. The page having more hyperlinks gets ranked at a higher level. This information is generally very useful to SEO specialists or executives.

Legalities of Hyperlinks

Many websites do not allow linking to them without prior permission. For example in The Netherlands hyperlinks are not merely references or citations, but also devices for copying web pages.

Legal battles have also been fought over hyperlinks. For example British Telecom sued Prodigy claiming that Prodigy infringed its patent (U.S. Patent 4,873,662) on web hyperlinks. However, after costly litigation, a court found for Prodigy, ruling that British Telecom's patent did not actually cover web hyperlinks.

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