, before info
, before ENQUIRE
, the word "hypertext"
was coined by Ted Nelson
, who founded his ambitious hypertext project Project Xanadu
, in 1960.
It has been software's oldest vaporware
(older, even, than "vaporware"
It was released
"...the hope would be to allow a pool of information to develop which could grow and evolve...
" Information Management: A Proposal
is a brief technical paper first published on 12 March 1989. Within three years the author, Tim Berners-Lee, elaborated on the original proposal
and created the WorldWideWeb
. The W3C has launched a 25th anniversary
commemorative website to mark the paper's birthday, and Berners-Lee will be giving a TED talk this weekend about the web.
This sheer quantity is in itself something new. All future histories of modern language will be written from a position of explicit and overwhelming information — a story not of darkness and silence but of data, and of the verbal outpourings of billions of lives. Where once words were written by the literate few on behalf of the many, now every phone and computer user is an author of some kind. And — separated from human voices — the tasks to which typed language, or visual language, is being put are steadily multiplying. [more inside]
Forty years ago
, Douglas Engelbart gave the Mother of All Demos. [more inside]
Vanity Fair has a typically excellent article out -- "How the Web Was Won,"
an oral history of the Web. Even if you're familiar with ARPANet, Metcalfe's Law, Pearl Harbor Day, the VC rush, whatever -- the story told by the often-animated people at the center of the whirlwind is an enlightening and entertaining experience. And for those of you don't know the history of the Internet, learn it! This is part of your heritage now. [more inside]
is a hypertext authoring site with some new twists on interface and design concepts. Example stories include The Seven Voyages of Sinbad
, The Butterfly Boy
by William Vollmann, and others from The Grand Library
The Dictionary of the Khazars
"For all its delights, for all the structural novelty and the comic inventiveness of the imagery, it must be said there is something rather light and airy about this book
. It is fun to chase down all the linkages between entries
; but as they are conjoined more by the bubbling repetition of motifs and the requirements of the formal devices than by real narrative event or development, it is, as Mr. Pavic
himself suggests, a bit like working a crossword puzzle."
looks fantastic, but the idea's so cool I'm still not sure what I'd use it for. So far, there's a only a tiddly hypertext story
. Bears watching.
The Sound and the Fury.
75 years ago, William Faulkner
finished his fourth novel
. It was published
later in the fall (October 7, 1929), and for the first fifteen years sales totaled just over 3,300 copies (an appendix
was added in 1946
, when most of Faulkner's books
were out of print.
Of course, a few years after that he was awarded the Nobel Prize
). It was Faulkner's own favorite novel, primarily, he said, because he considered it his "most splendid failure".
Many critics think it's the finest work of an American Master: the key to Faulkner, wrote Alfred Kazin (.pdf file)
, lies not only in the unflinching extremity of his God-blasted characters, but in the odd and unaccountable moments of redemptive human tenderness.
The Internet is very kind to Faulkner's fans: we can check out the Faulkner home
, his manuscripts and even his pipe
, trivia from his Postmaster's days
, we can read examples of his snarkiness
(hurled against Hemingway and Clark Gable
), we can admire the pages of screenplays
from his Hollywood
days. We can go to Faulkner academic conferences, too: in the USA
. Want to know what Bunny Wilson
and Ralph Ellison
had to say about Faulkner? Here
. (more inside, with Conan O'Brien)
The Book of Sand
- a hypertext puzzle (via the Garden of Forking Paths
). "There are people who barely feel poetry, and they are generally dedicated to teaching
it." Jorge Luis Borges.
The web isn't proper hypertext
says Ted Nelson, who probably invented the idea.
"I define hypertext as non-sequential writing ... the World Wide Web is not what we were trying to create. The links only go one way. There's no permanent publishing. There is no way you can write a marginal note that other people can see on what's in front of you. There is no way that you can quote freely. "
So is everyone fully comfortable with the idea of a "two way web", or are we still too hung up on picket fence territorialism? And how would it work, anyway?
Modern computing born... film at 11.
"On December 9, 1968, Douglas C. Engelbart and the group of 17 researchers working with him in the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA, presented a 90-minute live public demonstration of the online system, NLS, they had been working on since 1962. The public presentation was a session in the of the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, and it was attended by about 1,000 computer professionals. This was the public debut of the computer mouse. But the mouse was only one of many innovations demonstrated that day, including hypertext, object addressing and dynamic file linking, as well as shared-screen collaboration involving two persons at different sites communicating over a network with audio and video interface."