Alex Wright - The Web That Wasn't
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Alex Wright - The Web That Wasn't

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Presented at UX Brighton 2012

Presented at UX Brighton 2012

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  • 1. The Web That Wasn’t Alex Wright alex@agwright.com | www.alexwright.orgMonday, November 12, 12
  • 2. Monday, November 12, 12
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  • 8. So, how did we get here?Monday, November 12, 12
  • 9. Ada Lovelace • World’s first programmer • Invented the machine algorithm • “An analyst and metaphysician”Monday, November 12, 12
  • 10. 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)Monday, November 12, 12
  • 11. Mark Twain “The improved limitless-distance telephone was presently introduced, and the daily doings of the globe made visible to everybody, and audibly discussable too, by witnesses separated by any number of leagues." From the London Times of 1904 (1898)Monday, November 12, 12
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  • 15. H.G. Wells “The whole human memory can be, and probably in a short time will be, made accessible to every individual." H.G. Wells, World Brain, 1938Monday, November 12, 12
  • 16. H.G. Wells • Global encyclopedia with numerous “tentacles” and “ganglia” • Secure ID mechanism so that everyone can “promptly and certainly be recognized” • Elite class of technology “samurai” will guide the world’s progressMonday, November 12, 12
  • 17. Photo: Evan BrusMonday, November 12, 12
  • 18. Paul Otlet • Creator of Universal Decimal Classification • Founder of Mundaneum • Author of Monde, Traité de documentationMonday, November 12, 12
  • 19. Paul Otlet “The Universal Book, formed of all books, would become a kind of annex of the brain itself, a substrate of memory… ubiquitous and eternal.” - Traité de documentation, 1934Monday, November 12, 12
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  • 22. !Monday, November 12, 12
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  • 29. Françoise Levie / The Man Who Wanted to Classify the WorldMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 31. Vote-links http://microformats.org/wiki/vote-linksMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 33. Vannevar Bush • Science advisor to FDR • President of Carnegie Institution • Author of “As We May Think”Monday, November 12, 12
  • 34. As We May Think “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.”Monday, November 12, 12
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  • 36. As We May Think • Associative “trails” linking one document to another • Two-way links • User-generated contentMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 39. Eugene Garfield Founder of Science Citation Index Inventor of citation ranking Forefather of PageRankMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 43. Doug Engelbart • Former SRI Researcher • Creator of oNLine System (NLS) • Author of “Augmenting Human Intelligence”Monday, November 12, 12
  • 44. Doug Engelbart “Hunches, intangibles, and the human ‘feel for a situation’ usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids. - Augmenting Human Intellect, 1962Monday, November 12, 12
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  • 46. Doug Engelbart • 1968 NLS DemoMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 50. Xerox PARC Founded by Alan Kay and several early Engelbart collaborators Mission: “The Architecture of Information” Invented the GUI, precursors of the modern PCMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 52. Text TextMonday, November 12, 12
  • 53. Apple HypercardMonday, November 12, 12
  • 54. Ted Nelson • Coined the term “hypertext” (1965) • Author of Literary Machines, Dream Machines, Computer Lib • Creator of XanaduMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 56. • http://www.digibarn.com/collections/books/computer-lib/dm-cover.jpgMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 58. Andries Van DamMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 60. http://www.cs.brown.edu/memex/ACM_HypertextTestbed/papers/HARTadj5in.jpgMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 62. On Hypertext • Transclusion to allow deep linking • Bi-directional links to expose trails between documents • Intellectual property controlsMonday, November 12, 12
  • 63. Nelson-isms Transclusion Collateral Docuverse hypertext Stretchtext Humbers Zippered lists Thinkertoys Window sandwiches Fresh hyperbooks Indexing vortexes Anthological Part-pounces hyperbooks Tumblers Grand systemsMonday, November 12, 12
  • 64. 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 imagined… 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 NelsonMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 67. Andries Van Dam • Early collaborator with Nelson • Created the first working hypertext systems: • Hypertext Editing System (HES) • File Retrieval and Editing System (FRESS) • IntermediaMonday, November 12, 12
  • 68. IntermediaMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 70. Wendy Hall • Developed Microcosm at University of Southampton in mid-1970s • First open hypermedia system • “Linkbases” instead of markup languageMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 73. Tim Berners-Lee • Former researcher at CERN • Built first version of Enquire in 1980 • Released WorldWideWeb in 1989Monday, November 12, 12
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  • 76. Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages by Alex Wright http://alexwright.org/glut/Monday, November 12, 12
  • 77. Final thoughtsMonday, November 12, 12
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  • 79. Thank you Alex Wright alex@agwright.com | www.alexwright.orgMonday, November 12, 12
  • 80. Further reading H.G. Wells, “World Brain” Teilhard de Chardin, Phenomenon of Man Boyd Rayward, “Visions of Xanadu” Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think” Ted Nelson, Literary Machines Doug Engelbart, “Augmenting Human Intelligence” Tim Berners-Lee, Weaving the WebMonday, November 12, 12