Mulimedia Paradigm

As the available electronic bandwidth increases, multimedia is becoming increasingly more common on the WEB. Though the possibility was mentioned in the original WEB project proposal, multimedia capability was not a stated design goal. The simple reason for this was that the resulting system had to be usable by the vast numbers of dumb terminals still in use in 1989. However, the possibility was never forgotten and was realized with the development of the MOSAIC browser.

 Multimedia is a powerful paradigm, for it provides a multisensory experience, engaging us and communicating to us in a way that text alone cannot. The Multimedia paradigm has now become a foundational paradigm, often in fusion with other paradigms such as hypertext. When it is fused with augmenting paradigms such as hypertext and interactivity to form interactive hypermedia, and used effectively, it is powerful paradigm for communicating complex information.

 However, if fused to a limiting paradigm, such as the print paradigm, it will fall short of its potential. Even worse, if multimedia is used with no thought as to the reasons why it is being used, or has poor layout or content it can result in a pointless aesthetic fiasco that needlessly hogs bandwidth.

 While in the long-run, multimedia in fusion with other augmenting paradigms will provide us with an extremely rich and powerful information environment, we are still, in the short-run, crippled by the physical bandwidth generally available. We continue to be crippled, even with T1, with a lack of bandwidth. The ultimate potential of multimedia will not be reached until we have fibre to the home and full virtual reality information environments.

 We are also crippled with the rather anal, print-based, copyright laws. We need more liberal copyright laws if we are to be free to experiment with innovative repurposing and bricolage, as well as to see the WEB become a true Docuverse.

 Click here for a list of background reading in multimedia and interactive hypermedia.


WEB Paradigm Why. Media Theory. History and Prehistory Print Paradigm.
Multimedia Paradigm. Hypertext Paradigm. Docuverse Paradigm. Interactive Paradigm. Conclusions
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