Breaking Links

Nick Carr started a mini-kerfuffle by making the case against hyperlinks. Carr links to his critics in a follow up. Felix Salmon nips the argument in the bud:

A blog entry with links at the bottom has aspirations to being self-contained, like say a newspaper column: the links are optional extras. I never have such aspirations and anybody looking to make full use of the power of the internet is doing themselves a huge disservice if they start thinking that way. In these days of tabbed browsing, there’s a difference between clicking and clicking away: most of us, I’m sure, control-click many times per day while reading something interesting, letting tabs accumulate in the background as we find interesting citations we want to read later.

Someone writing online should no more put their links at the end of their essay than a university professor should first give the lecture and then run through the slides. It makes no logical sense, and it does no good for the consumer of the information.