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A forgotten prophet: Paul Otlet (1868-1944) and the quest for an Universal Book

Paul is gaining recognition from all over the world. Slowly, but still.

“Paul Otlet openly admitted in his Traité de documentation that his quest to create a Universal Book was a radical assumption. He was driven in his bibliographical interests by the ever-expanding volume of printed matter that began to accumulate globally from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Its sheer size frustrated Otlet, as did the possibility of all this information, unnecessarily duplicating itself and thereby stalling the inevitable march of progress across wide areas of knowledge and research.”

Bun ós coinn

50 years ago today the word ‘hypertext’ was introduced

Half a century is not that long for paradigm shifts in human history.

“On August 24, 1965 Ted Nelson used the word ‘hypertext’ (which he coined) in a paper he presented at the Association for Computing Machinery. I was able to interview him earlier this month about the event and his early thoughts on the future of computing. It is hard to know where to start when writing an introduction for Ted Nelson because his interests and accomplishments have spanned so many areas across six decades.”

(Byron Reese ~ GigaOm) ~ courtesy of erikhartman

Transclusion: A term coined by hypertext pioneer Ted Nelson

Document thinking is still alive and kicking.

“In computer science, transclusion is the inclusion of a document or part of a document into another document by reference. Rather than copying the included data and storing it in two places, a transclusion embodies modular design, by allowing it to be stored only once (and perhaps corrected and updated if the link type supported that) and viewed in different contexts.”

(Hacker Trips)

The secret history of hypertext: The conventional history of computing leaves out some key thinkers

Great to see this article appear in the publication where it all started, according to US history. Finally, some historical truth being added.

“Historians of technology often cite Bush’s essay as the conceptual forerunner of the Web. And hypertext pioneers like Douglas Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and Tim Berners-Lee have all acknowledged their debt to Bush’s vision. But for all his lasting influence, Bush was not the first person to imagine something like the Web. (…) For all his remarkable prescience, Bush never predicted anything like the Internet. That credit rightly goes to Otlet.”

(Alex Wright a.k.a. @alexgrantwright ~ The Atlantic)

Passive versus imperative linking

As we know, links are the best part of non-linearity.

“Writers worry about whether links will distract users. To discuss this concern, we need to begin by distinguishing between imperative links that command the reader to click and passive links that merely make finding ancillary material easier.”

(Mark Baker ~ Every page is one)

Web at 25: Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the invention of the Web

A moment to remember.

“Twenty-five years ago today, I filed the proposal for what was to become the World Wide Web. My boss dubbed it ‘vague but exciting’. Luckily, he thought enough of the idea to allow me to quietly work on it on the side.”

(Sir Tim Berners-Lee)

Why cards are the future of the Web

Cards and tags, a magic duo. Ask Paul Otlet or Bill Atkinson.

“We are currently witnessing a re-architecture of the web, away from pages and destinations, towards completely personalised experiences built on an aggregation of many individual pieces of content. Content being broken down into individual components and re-aggregated is the result of the rise of mobile technologies, billions of screens of all shapes and sizes, and unprecedented access to data from all kinds of sources through APIs and SDKs. This is driving the web away from many pages of content linked together, towards individual pieces of content aggregated together into one experience.”

(Inside Intercom)

Designing the perfect hyperlink: It’s not as simple as you think

On one thing we all agree, Jakob Nielsen made the hyperlink blue.

“Hyperlinks are the glue that holds the Web together. Without links, the Web would be a very different place, that’s if it would exist at all.”

(John MacPherson a.k.a. @johneemac ~ Six Revisions)

Writing better link texts

Nano copy design improves holistic UX.

“Linking from your content is important – it builds credibility and improves usability, which combined equals more satisfied readers and hopefully return visits. Finding the right material to link to takes time and effort; effort that is wasted if no one bothers to ‘Click here’.”

(Mich Walkden ~ Mich-communication)

The art of linking

Hyperlinking used to be called hypertext, hypermedia or hyperspace.

“Linking is the essence of the Web. Web professionals must focus primarily on links, rather than the content or technology.”

(Gerry McGovern)

Why Hypercard Had to Die

Should be part of “The Web That Wasn’t”.

“I was a Hypercard child – though our friendship was brief.”

(Loper OS)
courtey of markbernstein

Flocks, Herds, and Stories: Temporal Coherence and The Long Tail

“The Web is large and new, it flourishes, It seems to go from strength to strength, and yet we do not know how strong it really is. We must remember that we still could wreck the web.”

(Mark Bernstein a.k.a. @eastgate)

Possiplex: Ted Nelson ’59 and the Literary Machine

“Nelson’s ideas, once dismissed as utopian, have become central facts of modern life. But none of this is enough for him. The computing world we know is but a dim shadow of what might have been.” (Mark Bernstein)

How web killed the hypertext star and other stories

“Over a period 30 years hypertext developed and started to mature … until in the early 1990s came the web and so much of hypertext died with its birth … I guess a bit like the way Java all but stiltified programming languages.” (Alan Dix) ~ courtesy of markbernstein

ACM Hypertext 2010: As we may have thought, and may (still) think

“(…) I gave a keynote address at the Hypertext 2010 conference in Toronto where I found a community somewhat under threat by other web research conferences but nevertheless alive and kicking. The organizers had asked me to consider where the field might have gone wrong and where it might go in the future.” (Andrew Dillon ~ ACM Hypertext Conference 2010)

Proceedings First International Congress on Web Studies

“The 1st international congress on Web Studies aims at providing a venue for researchers and professionals from different backgrounds for discussion, study, practical demonstrations, sharing, and exchange on new developments and theories regarding the World Wide Web. The congress therefore invites contributions from a heterogeneous set of fields and domains such as: Web systems, computational intelligence, human-computer interaction, digital theory, Web sociology, and well as interactive and digital arts. We also encourage contributions from businesses and organizations.” (1st Int’l Congress on Web Studies) – courtesy of markbernstein

How Xanadu Works: Technical Overview

“Pause for a moment and think about the history here. 1993 is 16 years ago as I write this, about the same span of time between Vannevar Bush’s groundbreaking 1945 article ‘As We May Think’ and Nelson’s initial work in 1960 on what would become the Xanadu project. As far as software projects go, this one has some serious history.” (Micah DubinkoMicahpedia) – courtesy of markbernstein

Introduction to Special Issue on Spatial Hypertext

“The field of spatial hypertext emerged from early efforts to visualize node-and-link hypertexts in the late 1980s. There were a few different systems by the end of the 1990s and an annual Workshop on Spatial Hypertext began in 2001.” (Journal of Digital Information 10.3) – courtesy of mbernstein