A hyperlink is a link from a drawing, button, image, or hypertext to another web page. It may also be a link to another part of the same web page. The person who is online taps or clicks on the hyperlink. They then automatically go to the link’s destination. On some web pages, users go to the link just by hovering over the relevant text, button, or image.
Hypertext is text that appears on electronic devices with hyperlinks to somewhere else.
The word can also be a verb, i.e., to create a hyperlink between documents or parts of a document.
We also use the terms ‘link‘ or ‘hotlink‘ with the same meaning as hyperlink.
When we refer to small pictures or drawings on our computers, we say ‘icons.‘
TechTerms says the following about the word:
“A hyperlink is a word, phrase, or image that you can click on to jump to a new document or a new section within the current document. Hyperlinks are found in nearly all Web pages, allowing users to click their way from page to page.”
“Text hyperlinks are often blue and underlined, but don’t have to be.”
Ted Nelson first used the term in 1965 or 1964 at the beginning of Project Xanadu. He said that ‘As We May Think,’ a 1945 popular essay by Vannevar Bush, inspired him.
Bush described the Memex, a microfilm-based device in which people could link two pages of data. They could link them into a ‘trail’ of relevant information. They could then scroll back and forth among the trail’s pages.
Nelson, an American pioneer of IT, also coined the term hypermedia. IT stands for Information Technology.
Apple released a database program – HyperCard – for the Mackintosh in 1987. The program allowed hyperlinking between pages within a document.
Windows Help, which came with Microsoft Windows 3.0 in 1990, was full of hyperlinks.
According to Wikipedia:
“The first widely used open protocol that included hyperlinks from any Internet site to any other Internet site was the Gopher protocol from 1991.”
“It was soon eclipsed by HTML after the 1993 release of the Mosaic browser. HTML’s advantage was the ability to mix graphics, text, and hyperlinks, unlike Gopher, which just had menu-structured text and hyperlinks.”
Hyperlinks today are common in most web pages or websites (a website contains web pages). However, we can find them in other hypertext documents, such as glossaries, and dictionaries. We can also find them in encyclopedias and other references.
In such cases, the hyperlinks act in the same way as they do online, i.e., they allow the user to jump from one page to another.
TechTerms explains that “hyperlinks allow us to browse information at hyperspeed.”
In this Internet-Class video, Geoffrey Challen talks about hyperlinks. He explains that they are one of the core components that make the World Wide Web so interesting.