Software

One of our major difficulties in this project has been finding  appropriate software.  A hypermedia environment should allow a hypertext strategy to be used in developing ideas from the data and a hypermedia strategy in the presentation of these interpretations.

The appropriate software must be able to act as a heuristic tool  for the analysis of data and as a sophisticated presentational tool.  Ideally an ethnographer can develop and present the interpretation of data in the same environment.

Unfortunately such software doesn’t exist. 

Consequently we are developing in StorySpace and using Authorware as a presentational tool.

StorySpace excels in its ease of use, sophisticated graphical displays of nodes and links (e.g. the map view) and complexity of linking.  Poor multimedia capabilities. Also  several of its most useful features, e.g. the "path browser" and link dialog boxes do not support “text” links.  In addition, its “find text” command will only open up the relevant node not find the precise location of the text.  This makes data analysis (big nodes) difficult. 
Authorware simply can not be used as a development tool as the creation of hyperlinks is cumbersome, it is impossible to generate overviews of the data, relations between links and so on.  It is however relatively easy to generate reasonable hypermedia presentations with a high degree of interactivity.
There are of course several other possibilities, such as Director for very high powered multimedia capabilities, the Web (possibly using SMIL or HTML+time), Guide, or perhaps other programs still under development.  However it should be born in mind that we are trying to develop a methodology that does not require anything other than user-friendly, relatively simple, off the shelf software. Ethnographers have a lot to learn already.
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