Scientific literature is expected to contain a body of knowledge that can be indexed and retrieved using references and citations. References are subtexts which refer to a supertext, that is, the body of scientific literature. The Science Citation Index has provided an electronic representation of science at the supertextual level by aggregating the subtextual citations. As the supertext, however, becomes independently available in virtual reality (as a "hypertext"), subtext and supertext become increasingly different contexts. The dynamics of hyperlinks are expected to feedback on the system of indexing, referencing, and retrieval at the level of research practices. References can be considered as part of the retention mechanism of this evolving system of scientific communication, and citations are a codified form of referencing.
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