Future Visions of Common-Use Hypertext (16 Jul 2004)
In 1945, Vannevar Bush talked about exchanging Memex trails to allow colleagues to work on similar material in different contexts (in this case, on the Turkish bow, both its place in history and the resistance in European culture to its innovation) (Bush 1945). In 1960, Ted Nelson took a computer course and foresaw a vision of electronic information connected and reused, recontextualised - deeply intertwingled (Nelson 1987) - but with all its orignal contexts also available. In 1968 Douglas Englebart gave 'the mother of all software demos', an incredible visionary outline of the future of computing: linked documentation, annotations, video conferencing, as well as the famous mouse.
All of these events contributed to the birth of a new field - Hypertext - described by Nelson as 'non-linear reading and writing'. Thoughout the 1970s and 1980s, hypertext became realised through systems such as Guide, Sun Link Service, Microcosm, Intermedia, Notecards and Hypercard, and many others. There was also, of course, the development of Project Xanadu at AutoDesk. It could be argued that none of these systems became 'commonly used', but rather were deployed in various vertical and niche markets, or never fully realised their potentials.
Article URL: http://jodi.ecs.soton.ac.uk/Articles/v05/i01/editorial/
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