Connections & Links



A link can be thought of as a realised connection, and connections can similarly be thought of as opportunities for linking. Leonardo DaVinci famously said “To develop a complete mind: Study the art of science; study the science of art. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else”. It is certainly true that mentally anything can arbitrarily be connected to anything else; you simply have to put both concepts into a sentence. Compare this to a chain-‘Link’ fence, where the parts physically touch.


Clarifying the difference between ‘connection’ and ‘link’ is done to highlight the need to build digital environments where links can be usefully made, something which is done through the use of addresses: You can't link something you cannot refer to and you can only link to as fine a detail (a whole document or a single sentence or word) as the addressing system supports.


Our brains operate primarily through spaces of connection potential so to extend our minds is related to how we extend our capability for dealing with connection spaces.


This has implications for:


  • how documents are published and found,
  • how arguments and assertions in documents refer to each other through
  • citations and links as well as for
  • how commenting and
  • collaboration works, and for
  • how the documents information is presented visually interactably to the user – how the user can interact in the connection space primarily by using eyes and hands to extend the reach and effectiveness of their brains neurons.





Citations are an important category of links.


“When you cite a source, you show how your voice enters into an intellectual conversation, and you demonstrate your link to the community within which you work.”


Citations are what gives your work credibility when you write and clarity when you read. Static citations, the way they are on paper, only mildly delivers on this promise. Digital citations have the opportunity become active neurons in the academic discourse and provide a powerful flow of ideas. Using citations well and supporting the depth of citations is one of the key aspects of deep literacy: Deep Citations