The Web That Wasn’t

Alex Wright

alex@agflright. com
www. agflright. com
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Charles Cutter

“The desks had  a little key-board
at each,  connected by a wire.  The
reader had only to find the mark of
...
H. G.We| |s

The whole human memory can be, 
and probably in a short time will be, 
made accessible to every individual. 
...
Teilhard de Chardin

f “ , _ “A sort of ‘etherised’ human
consciousness. .. a single, 
 organized,  unbroken
‘l 4,3)’ memb...
Paul Otlet

0 Creator of Universal Decimal
Classification

0 Founder of Mundaneum

 

0 Author of Monde,  Traité de
documen...
QuickTime clip from The Man Who Wanted

to Classify the World by Francoise Levie

(removed due to file size)
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How the UDC works

V Universal Decimal Classification for top-

down categorization

V Auxiliary Tables to mark relationshi...
What would Ot| et’s
Web have looked like? 

*3 Marriage of top-down classification with
bottom-up categorization

I-~ Grada...
Vannevar Bush

ii Science advisor to FDR

g ii President of Carnegie
“ A Institution

-ti Author of“As We May Think”
Vannevar Bush

“Thus [the user] goes, 

building a trail of many items. 

.  Occasionally he inserts a

 T comment of his ...
Vannevar Bush

to “Wholly new forms of

‘ encyclopedias will appear, 
ready-made with a mesh of
associative trails running...
How the Memex worked

it “Selection by association,  rather than
indexing” (associative trails)

ii Two-way links
4‘ Visib...
QQQIQ

Beyond the Memex

Biological computing
Crystal data storage
ESP

“Learning machines”
Eugene Garfield

it Founder of Science Citation Index
it Inventor of citation ranking

ii Forefather of PageRank
Doug Engelbart
. 

  
   
 

 0 Former SRI Researcher
 0 Creator of oNLine System (NLS)

V3.‘ 0 Author of “Augmenting Huma...
Doug Engelbart

1 _ _
  H o I968 NLS Demo

,  /--. .-l-
34 .1‘
THREE STAGES OF COMPUTER SERVICE

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What would Engelbart’s
Web have looked like? 

I!  Tools for small group collaboration
it Process hierarchies

it Built-in...
Xerox PARC

it Founded by Alan Kay and several early
Engelbart collaborators

it Mission: “The Architecture of lnformation...
XI RUX
6005 Woclutnuon

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1.:...
Ted Nelson

0 Coined the term “hypertext” (1965)

0 Author of Literary Machines, 
Dream Machines,  Computer Lib

0 Creator...
ll ‘I l ,  I l _ l ' I ,  l ,  . , l l ___ MC? " "W / F‘ :7’ 5' '; “"""'“' ’; "“': ‘"; F;‘>'A'n"? ' 3:;  " V‘ :77 fl"'j'7  ...
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lllII‘. l>IJllII(RlllI lill llIrlI)I:  l)l)RI(. 
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A SINGLE PROGRAM. 
RUNNING THROUGHOUT A NETWORK

NeI. w;"| '. 
tenually
a unllaufid In size. 

 
      

DEE!  CONSOLE
Iron...
‘ORDINARY’ HYPERTEXT
Ted Nelson

‘‘I mean non-sequential writing-
text that branches and allows
choices to the reader. .. a
series of text chun...
Nelson—isms

I!  Transclusion is Collateral

It Stretchtext hypertext

It Zippered lists It Humbers

It Window sandwiches ...
I Don't Buy In

The Web isn't hypertext,  it's DECORATED DIRECTORIES! 

What we have instead is the vacuous victory of
typ...
Andries Van Dam

vi Early collaborator with
Ted Nelson

ii Created the first working hypertext
systems: 

i!  Hypertext Ed...
mu , 
nu runny an uncut:  out mulls cum

   
 
  
   
 
 
 
  
     
    
   

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flfl

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Ccluofl...
Disease in Rich and Poor

        
     

I < Nineteenth Century
Public Health

 
 
     
    
   

. ..u-z- Vi,  ,. - ; ....
Other precursors

oZOG-CMU

O KMS - McCracken and Akscyn

O Notecard - Xerox PARC

O Hypercard - Apple

0 Hypertext Editin...
Tim Berners-Lee

‘W 0 Former researcher at CERN
Laboratory

0 Built first version of Enquire in
1980

0 Released Wor| dWid...
I-no

HypcrMc:2 .1 Biowscnfdiioi

www nu udi stun

. » '1»

Woo‘!  mypm-xi

Marc Weber
In Search of the Web
That Wasn’t

I Marrying top-down classification with
bottom-up “social space”

Two-way linking

Visibl...
Reading list

H. G.We| |s, “Wor| d Brain”

Teilhard de Chardin,  Phenomenon of Man

Boyd Rayward, “Visions of Xanadu”
Vann...
Glut:  Mastering Information
Through the Ages

by Alex Wright

Coming in June 2007 from Joseph Henry Press

http: //a| exw...
Thank you

Alex Wright
aIex@agwright. com |  www. agwright. com
The Web That Wasn't
The Web That Wasn't
The Web That Wasn't
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The Web That Wasn't

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Alex Wright's presentation from the 2007 Information Architecture Summit, exploring the history of early hypertext and other networked information systems. Focuses on the work of Paul Otlet, Vannevar Bush, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson and Andries Van Dam, in search of clues about how the Web might have turned out differently.

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  • There you go - I remember watching your Talk@Google - now I find the presentation as related to my http://www.slideshare.net/haraldf/this-is-paul-otlet - I love those historical topics ;)
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  • Impressive presentation on ’The Web That Wasn't'. You’ve shown your credibility on presentation with this slideshow. This one deserves thumbs up. I’m John, owner of www.freeringtones.ws/ . Hope to see more quality slides from you.

    Best wishes.
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  • The usage of imagery in this slideshow is very effective. You have done a fantastic job here friend.
    Anisa
    http://financejedi.com http://healthjedi.com
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  • In response to CRM's question: here’s a paper by Nelson that goes into further depth, contrasting his vision of hypertext vs. today's Web:

    http://www.cs.brown.edu/memex/ACM_HypertextTestbed/papers/60.html
       Reply 
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  • The video clip I showed was from a film called 'The Man Who Wanted to Classify the World' by Francoise Levie. It's available for order here: http://www.filmakers.com/indivs/Man_classify.htm
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Transcript of "The Web That Wasn't"

  1. 1. The Web That Wasn’t Alex Wright alex@agflright. com www. agflright. com
  2. 2. vU. l,. D . Jul
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  6. 6. Charles Cutter “The desks had a little key-board at each, connected by a wire. The reader had only to find the mark of his book in the catalog, touch a few lettered or numbered keys, and [the book] appeared after an astonishingly short interval. Charles Cutter, “The Buffalo Public Library of 1983" (Library Journal, 1883)
  7. 7. H. G.We| |s The whole human memory can be, and probably in a short time will be, made accessible to every individual. [T]his new all-human cerebrum can have at once, the concentration of a craniate animal and the diffused vitality of an amoeba. .." H. G. Wells, World Brain, 1938
  8. 8. Teilhard de Chardin f “ , _ “A sort of ‘etherised’ human consciousness. .. a single, organized, unbroken ‘l 4,3)’ membrane over the earth” that K "x will “pave the way for a revolution. ”
  9. 9. Paul Otlet 0 Creator of Universal Decimal Classification 0 Founder of Mundaneum 0 Author of Monde, Traité de documentation
  10. 10. QuickTime clip from The Man Who Wanted to Classify the World by Francoise Levie (removed due to file size)
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  12. 12. _—7""“. _7 ""—' Foncnons ou TRAVAIL Scnarmmoue ; §3Cous£r<vATIoN ‘ on LA SCl£NCl . r‘4I I’ 1 Rt'. :.1:/ up t. <._, o-'r»< l. ' pr. CY-I mu : - nxvnv. l[a‘b| FFU«5%"l; IV- 1. L4mvh". ' r ; I', N'VnA_r i. A5ClEl1CE ‘ [T u- H’ | '_= }V -' "l». '.'"“T: n;-. ;". (.l£) 1 * {cm was . -. ~ - . lclsclznrlr cuss ‘ '°"’. ' §[¢’_"l'lC"‘. '‘. -' -: :; u- ; . vs iaiusilsikgfion FBi§c’ sioris 03 sclelriljslrlaujes . .'xu . E1 . _ DCLA l“- ». v
  13. 13. How the UDC works V Universal Decimal Classification for top- down categorization V Auxiliary Tables to mark relationships between topics (e. g., ‘‘+’’ ‘‘l’’ “: ”) ’ Constructing the “social space” of a document
  14. 14. What would Ot| et’s Web have looked like? *3 Marriage of top-down classification with bottom-up categorization I-~ Gradations of links, e. g.: * Agree/ Disagree / Approve / Disapprove
  15. 15. Vannevar Bush ii Science advisor to FDR g ii President of Carnegie “ A Institution -ti Author of“As We May Think”
  16. 16. Vannevar Bush “Thus [the user] goes, building a trail of many items. . Occasionally he inserts a T comment of his own, either linking it to the main trail or joining it by a side trail to a particular item. .. Thus he builds a trail of his interest through the maze of materials available to him. ”
  17. 17. Vannevar Bush to “Wholly new forms of ‘ encyclopedias will appear, ready-made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the Memex and there amplified. ”
  18. 18. How the Memex worked it “Selection by association, rather than indexing” (associative trails) ii Two-way links 4‘ Visible pathways
  19. 19. QQQIQ Beyond the Memex Biological computing Crystal data storage ESP “Learning machines”
  20. 20. Eugene Garfield it Founder of Science Citation Index it Inventor of citation ranking ii Forefather of PageRank
  21. 21. Doug Engelbart . 0 Former SRI Researcher 0 Creator of oNLine System (NLS) V3.‘ 0 Author of “Augmenting Human * ). |nte| ligence”
  22. 22. Doug Engelbart 1 _ _ H o I968 NLS Demo , /--. .-l- 34 .1‘
  23. 23. THREE STAGES OF COMPUTER SERVICE ‘L. .a— . l I. .y. . . Pun-'49», )~Anu‘uli
  24. 24. . I. ’ I. ‘<3’/ -r _ I . . . I ' ' , “ ’ f“ VI’ , K. p . . l I’ l ‘K . I . g , . 5' ( .5 ‘I _ . , I »~*
  25. 25. What would Engelbart’s Web have looked like? I! Tools for small group collaboration it Process hierarchies it Built-in audio/ video conferencing
  26. 26. Xerox PARC it Founded by Alan Kay and several early Engelbart collaborators it Mission: “The Architecture of lnformation” it Invented the GUI, precursors of the modern PC
  27. 27. XI RUX 6005 Woclutnuon l: -«Junta: Doug- ~un. -.: - -q unewqnlv 1- am vunmvu -nun o w. ..n~. uuy ar‘.1't‘! «Lg: 1.: -nu up-u Ksnuu. - --~. t n-nu»-u Ion-vllll mu . (cw . . no as -p-. -* LQ In lhuv . u(~y. vu9.-I E0 ‘FIVOI >II'1! VII} II If‘. .u . -nun. .. - -. ..-I ’¢fi so ». .. .. . . 4. AZ. ch. 4.. .‘. .. ‘J4 up. .. In on fun A ‘I lent! ‘ Ki. ’ '21 AI! ‘ l'Ic 1-AIIH 1 an: nrwu ‘M n--1» ‘llllf n1 -um» n.4:! .:4 92-: van to sun I)! run qvav n . w~ ‘c A'I. uuo: u'1 on 0 can ' v um . ~q. >.. u . -- -ii--4 nxnw-“nu. .. . ~ nu -1 av vs. V-'1 in-on 1.. -en ; -n. .-~ to not nu - uuu-u-«au. ,.. ..u«v W: ‘-Nun, ‘ -. ,. ... .. -.-u, -. . »». m . mg. - I. V -. .. .. .. ,.. -.. - rvll up . u. u. .‘ . . -. .-. -~ -. .u . Vvrl and "doubt- -vp. nvIt: nI'-‘ us as 1--n I. -1 '. v -u- o---~-~ . -v- -: -«--. o o-“coo. ..-- v-. . . .I. ... n I. .. u . .i. . mm ; ... m.- . ..- 3'6-polar text. u; ‘ up» now»:
  28. 28. Ted Nelson 0 Coined the term “hypertext” (1965) 0 Author of Literary Machines, Dream Machines, Computer Lib 0 Creator of Xanadu
  29. 29. ll ‘I l , I l _ l ' I , l , . , l l ___ MC? " "W / F‘ :7’ 5' '; “"""'“' ’; "“': ‘"; F;‘>'A'n"? ' 3:; " V‘ :77 fl"'j'7 l l _ l _ l ‘ I , l l l I ' ' I’: -4“ M 94 on-. .'«(o. .:nmdl . "-ffi‘ " §"'. ' : I . lJ ‘.3 L I . . ; n.I. a ', ~.JI}
  30. 30. ‘I'll: -mIuI' IIIIIIII ('lI)ll L/ start lllII‘. l>IJllII(RlllI lill llIrlI)I: l)l)RI(. I'R(). IH I I)I . llIIlll lll l<I) | I‘I‘lIIIlll('Il>{(Il( Illll-{llRI l«' L‘ I. w‘ Lil-'-_. II I Im III ( mil xi II llllll li UIIII A-I um’! II Rimmx
  31. 31. A SINGLE PROGRAM. RUNNING THROUGHOUT A NETWORK NeI. w;"| '. tenually a unllaufid In size. DEE! CONSOLE Iron: ends‘
  32. 32. ‘ORDINARY’ HYPERTEXT
  33. 33. Ted Nelson ‘‘I mean non-sequential writing- text that branches and allows choices to the reader. .. a series of text chunks connected by links which offer the reader different pathways. ”
  34. 34. Nelson—isms I! Transclusion is Collateral It Stretchtext hypertext It Zippered lists It Humbers It Window sandwiches -It Thinkertoys at Indexing vortexes Ii Fresh hyperbooks Ii Part-pounces H Anthropological II Tumblers hyperbooks I! Grand systems
  35. 35. I Don't Buy In The Web isn't hypertext, it's DECORATED DIRECTORIES! What we have instead is the vacuous victory of typesetters over authors, and the most trivial form of hypertext that could have been imaginedm There is an alternative. Markup must not be embedded. Hierarchies and files must not be part of the mental structure of documents. Links must go both ways. All these fundamental errors of the Web must be repaired. But the geeks have tried to lock the door behind them to make nothing else possible. We fight on. More later. - Ted Nelson
  36. 36. Andries Van Dam vi Early collaborator with Ted Nelson ii Created the first working hypertext systems: i! Hypertext Editing System (HES) 9 File Retrieval and Editing System (FRESS) it Intermedia
  37. 37. mu , nu runny an uncut: out mulls cum ¢. .Q. .~C. !.Q. Q, flfl cannon» IIII Ccluofllhyflncflll I016 Ltowvnl-ootowvwdllnpvovodlyl -Iuouapou-It-unodlm -alnydcuon llfl I ICC " I an F I I I If ’ DWDIIIICOCNIGIOIIOOOOIAOIOIAIO ¢ ollhooquotl(n-I)¢owIo1 I II! ) = I-Iv-oubuncooufr ‘ mo oynon an Ioutvm an no i I no u. M mlnoulouv-«olATv , m‘_, __“', ,': “", ‘,", :,': ‘,, """""’ w A totlulnluool than‘. n on-can UI I ""“””""'""°""°“"“ '¢IoOInOIOIOIIoIn¢QIfiIl II! Inn»-nominal! » The uytuym at A1? (nun In oynon Ionumvlloztntnlldtnlohon-I ~ . spnngun -um | O!| l0I| O<IlIpOtlIoII_| IQ'Ig| lItn-I , ,,, :_", :’, '.“""', ,,, ',', ’,', . uooououuvuuc nu _ 8“. Minna Goooono-: ¢I, UII un¢Nou1oI. JE (I906) - ouuunn-uononumolcuuurnqou at M, nan-an ' ‘ canon» I ". Sn-uyafrpounnoymnumiocuwshaq bomvonaquovllotnlolmbulvnocnmupvovulloo nxntlaug luodupotnncnomimvaolulno mono-I ca-oonult loll! -ov and cum muunto uuoulocungcoiunanon Mflfllfittiulboilil
  38. 38. Disease in Rich and Poor I < Nineteenth Century Public Health . ..u-z- Vi, ,. - ; .;. i _ uw : 'i- ' .1-I” 5'} : cg‘: 'v .1 n‘l1"°. "A. 'I'} 2'-. -.: 0' . ‘o«. '. . "'n- iv-3-vw N ». .,. .L aha’ , v!'i- 17:02 ' "r I, i.Q"‘l“'V: "‘V 3:0-0'11 -2. : 'o-: '1' ix’ 3") V1 ‘Vet c-. x "tovr. -:ri! '«' "liI"O" row : o- . .,. ..-i. » {vi . i . ' , ".1" : ,-3. '. I’1A'1‘i‘7’t! I.A'! .'v’ ‘f"iI~. ’A1I’tv. . pp. --o, 3 tum}. -, 'u" v 1. .2 7-. . at ; i vi--warojiril-atogu‘. "'u1.. » r14" ' 4-. -i-, .. . ... .i r I»: -, ,: mi’! . ..a‘. .. . 1f. 'l"‘J l‘l'V . -o, . Y'o<. v": :l. O " H: A)J‘. v1I. ‘-v -i . ,i . "u-' ‘in’ I 3'' V’ V’: - I’V‘l‘. : «‘. '.u. .i | ,l‘_ in H IIIDOHIIIOHI Tuberculosis in Victorian England _-. ..i_i. .i . . . §,_. ,i», .,, , ; ,1.. -.[ ‘Al. :4‘ . co 9.‘; -or-: - . oe mi _g'v--1:. ‘ a1r. |. . ,_, _¢ , . . ..-. ‘«. ~ P 5-‘. rIu4' w 0. ‘hr .4. . r’n-no: no 4' wduiuu r. .(~'.4 r. (v , ,, ‘ir. »,D'l/ I‘ . .- - u in-as i. ¢a~ 'l I“rA‘ _&v- 4.. -.. i'v.1r -. I.¢4~ -i, “cu U: .. ... . in In 4- vi. 1l1.4.I _q- - -c. ~.. «». u-. (. ': vlrQ 1‘ 'i - -aw. .u~s ~. n.r. |- ' H -vuv- 1.. .; ' ‘_Q_fI'rl’r' an-. l. > 8:. »- '_; ;,: n- 4 . «-as-' 'v1'4lv
  39. 39. Other precursors oZOG-CMU O KMS - McCracken and Akscyn O Notecard - Xerox PARC O Hypercard - Apple 0 Hypertext Editing System - Rada
  40. 40. Tim Berners-Lee ‘W 0 Former researcher at CERN Laboratory 0 Built first version of Enquire in 1980 0 Released Wor| dWideWeb in 1989
  41. 41. I-no HypcrMc:2 .1 Biowscnfdiioi www nu udi stun . » '1» Woo‘! mypm-xi Marc Weber
  42. 42. In Search of the Web That Wasn’t I Marrying top-down classification with bottom-up “social space” Two-way linking Visible pathways Gradations of links Integrating authoring tools Process hierarchies Embedding hypermedia in the GUI
  43. 43. Reading list H. G.We| |s, “Wor| d Brain” Teilhard de Chardin, Phenomenon of Man Boyd Rayward, “Visions of Xanadu” Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think” Ted Nelson, Literary Machines Doug Enge| bart, “Augmenting Human | nte| |igence” Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web
  44. 44. Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages by Alex Wright Coming in June 2007 from Joseph Henry Press http: //a| exwright. org/ glutl
  45. 45. Thank you Alex Wright aIex@agwright. com | www. agwright. com

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