Hypertext is a large net of cross-referenced text which allows reading in many sequences. At its lowest level, hypertext can be regarded as a database management system that allows the connection of chunks of information (nodes) in an intuitive way without the traditional database record and file structure. Information is collected in nodes. The nodes are connected with associative links that reference related information in other nodes. Nodes and links are the key concepts in hypertext.
Hypertext started as early as 1945 when Vannevar Bush, the science advisor of President Roosevelt envisioned a mechanism for on-line text retrieval that would mimic the brain's way of processing information. This machine was called Memex. It was never created, but the dream of associative information retrieval was not forgotten. It became hypertext.
http://www.eskimo.com/~mighetto/lshyper.htm last update October 18, 1996.