The Case for Democratizing Links in Education
The Bridgit Chrome browser extension enables users to organize, share, and ultimately monetize their research. The Bridgit extension enables browser users to create bridges that connect ideas on web pages (represented by content snippets) as an alternative to the link (or hyperlink), which simply connects a piece of text or an image unidirectionally to another page.
Links are centralized in that only the page author can create links from a webpage they authored. The content provider controls the linking, as the link is embedded in the html content they provide. (Culham, 2002) The content provider specifies where on the page the link is active and to what page it links. The user can follow the hyperlink by clicking on the active area but they cannot create links on the pages they are visiting.
As a result, today’s Internet of pages is sparsely-connected with few outbound links. Commercial sites want to keep users on their site to continue serving ads and extracting data.
Beyond the lack of context, today’s web pages are not well suited for trust or non-linear reading not only because of the paucity of outbound links on commercial sites, but also the nature of the links themselves. Commercial web pages avoid outbound links in favor of internal links that connect to pages on the same site. Outbound links that do exist may be self-serving such as affiliate and pay for placement links.
The advent of bridges augments the Internet so that any Internet user can connect information on an idea-to-idea basis that aggregates into an Internet of ideas, thereby creating the possibility of 360° context for any idea on the Internet.
A bridge is a bi-directional, co-locatable conceptual link between ideas (i.e., content snippets) with a semantic relationship. Primary relationships including supports, contradicts, and cites. Users will be able to specify additional relationships. Such a co-locatable link was first introduced in a 2002 patent for a method of linking web pages with supplementary links from the content on a primary web page (Culham, 2002).
A more democratized Internet will result in greater transparency, less piracy, less false news, and more robust knowledge and sensemaking and will therefore create tremendous value once network effects have been achieved for people and content.
Today’s investors, however, are generally not interested in financing systemic change…