Classification of Links According to Primary Function

This article by Claire Hudson in FirstMonday proposes 7 different categories of functions performed by hyperlinks within web sites:

  • Authorizing
  • Commenting
  • Enhancing
  • Exemplifying
  • Mode-Changing
  • Referencing/Citing
  • Self-Selecting

Further definitions of each category are provided in the article. This view of links could be useful when trying to troubleshoot why certain links are not followed by users. Perhaps you intend it as a mode-changing link but your users tend to identify it as authorizing (and thus ignore it :).

Here is an interesting quote from that same article that applies to the weblogging world:

In other words, no hypertext – whether static or dynamic, explicit or implicit, and strongly or weakly authored – can be divorced from the subjectivity of human choice.

Hypertexts, then, are a social/cultural phenomenon, based on the ideologies of the particular communities – for example, a corporation, government department, non-profit organization – from which they emerge. These ideologies work to create, enhance, and restrict users’ access to information.

This furthers the theme that collections of links in a weblog, even without explicit editorial comments, do convey the editorial opinions of the weblog author.