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5. Sequential relations

One of the main characteristics of a modular presentation of information is that it allows readers to choose and consult modules from different publications, in their own preferred sequence. But in order to suit the needs of readers who wish to consult the entire article, a standard `sequential route' has to be set out between its modules. That route is given by means of links expressing asymmetric `sequential relations', which indicate the next module and the previous module along that route.

We specify two types of sequential routes through the article. Figure 4.11 illustrates the difference between the two sequential routes.

5.1
A complete sequential route  provides a complete tour passing all modules contained in the article.
This route is made explicit in order to meet the demands of readers who want a sequential report of all available information without missing a single module.
5.2
An essay-type route  follows the traditional line of discourse , by linking (predominantly) the elementary modules sequentially .
This route suits the needs of those who wish to follow the line of the article as a whole, without being disturbed by undue overlap. Therefore, this route avoids the `module summaries' of complex modules (unless they are necessary for the reader's understanding), directly leading to the constituent modules instead. It also avoids modules like the Raw data in which information is represented in a way that is computer-manipulable rather than reader-friendly.
  
[To the full figure]
Figure 4.11: Sequential relations: a complete route through the entire article (dashed) and a more readable essay-type route (dotted

The modular model allows for other, specialised sequential routes through an article in particular, or through a collection of modules in general. It may, for example, be useful to specify an  `module summary route' linking `module summaries' provided in complex modules. A collection of module summaries could then be used as an extended abstract of the article.


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Table of Contents
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Glossary
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Next: 6. Representational relations Up: Organisational relations Previous: 4. Administrative relations