The 50th anniversary of the word 'hypertext'

[Read the post]

1 Like

I just asked about this on stack overflow 5 days ago!

1 Like

You can post your own answer now, in that case; you’ll have references and everything!

And he still hasn’t been brought to justice?

1 Like

I remember seeing Ted Nelson at conferences in the late 90s and early 00s and he just seemed so disappointed that the world had not seen the merits of Xanadu in all its crystalline perfection. I think he eventually accepted the practical issues of his idea but at the time it is fair to say that Tim Berners-Lee was not his favorite person.

Reading through this interview I think he still blames the world for failing to spot the brilliance of his ideas.

But this paper is not an RFC. I’m looking for the first RFC that describes hypertext.

I first read about the concept of (tho not the word itself) hypertext in John Barth’s “Giles Goat-Boy” (1966). I believe that Giles was looking at some electronic encyclopedia and found that he could dig deeper into various articles in precisely the way that we now use hypertext. Reading this as a teen in the '60s, I was utterly fascinated by the concept. “Giles Goat-Boy” is still a rollicking good read. [Barth’s “The Sot-Weed Factor” is at least as complicated and funny.]

[quote=“boingboing, post:1, topic:64493”]
Nelson: “No one, absolutely no one that I met, could imagine interactive computer screens.”[/quote] Strange, because he did spend a lot of time hanging around at Brown U. where under the leadership of Andy van Dam – Nelson’s old Swarthmore classmate and recent CS PhD with a thesis on Computer Graphics – we were implementing the Hypertext Editing System on the IBM 2250 display.

Our work was largely based on Vannevar Bush’s 1945 Atlantic article As We May Think. The article described a hypertext system on a computer display. It’s also likely that Nelson met or knew of Doug Engelbart during this time; he was doing similar work out at Stanford. (Inventing the computer mouse was one of Engelbart’s lesser achievements.)


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.