IT CANNOT ONLY BE LINKED, IT HAS TO BE DESIGNED
Angel Gabriel Galindo Roman
March 10th, 2014
It Cannot Only Be Linked, It Has To Be Designed
The American pioneer of information technology, Theodor Holm Nelson, brings us to a world of fantasy, a world of aspiration; he brings us to his world of dream machines, the dreams of artificial intelligence. In 1974, Nelson knew “computers will be embraced in very presentational medium and thoughtful medium very soon”[Nelson, 1974, 306]. He was convinced of the importance of media and the need of its interconnection because “we live in media, as fish live in water”. However, he was concerned about how the general framework and structure ...view middle of the document...
This allows users to browse from one text to another with the help of links. It also gives users the possibility to add their own thoughts or notes about the topic and make connections with other sources. The machine served, as what we know today, as a hard drive in a server, which keeps the information registered into the system for many users. Thus, the users would be able to come back to a train of thought and continue their research. The main idea of the Memex is associating thoughts and keeping records of them, so the author or someone else might comeback later and continue the research.
Nelson considered Bush’s idea to define hypermedia as a method used to relate different media with a non-linear structure. In this way, users are free to browse through the different points of the information presented. This non-linear structure allows the user to control the system; thus, to control the information presented, which allows them to find their own way of learning. This “ultra-rich environment” permits the user to choose the topics and parts of the topic they want to study and understand, in their own time and their own way through a vast variety of media. This serves as a motivation to the users and encourages them to lose themselves in the world of information.
The hypermedia consists of a “multi-dimensional” media that allow the interconnection between different other media. Examples of hypermedia presented to the user could be maps or pictures, but an essential one would be the hypertext. Hypertexts are forms of writing that branch and perform on request, which are best presented on a computer screen. Nelson explains that hypertexts “consists on separate pieces of text” essentially “connected by links”. The idea is to browse through a concept and suddenly jump to an entire new presentation by accessing different links depending on your interest in the topic. It is such a complex way of interconnecting the written information that it cannot be presented on paper or in a book.
In 1994, the computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, took Nelson’s concept of hypertext and connected it to transmissions protocols and domain name systems in order to create the Word Wide Web (W3). Berners-Lees’ intention with this creation was to develop “a pool of human knowledge” [Berners, 1994, 792]. With the conjunction of the Internet and the idea of hypertext, Berners-Lee conceived a world where in order to link information the users “do not need to understand the difference between the many protocols in common use”. In this way, linking information was easier than ever before.
While Bush’s idea of the Memex was visionary, and the W3 was a great advancement, Nelson’s real goal was not achieved by any of these creations. With the idea of hypermedia, Nelson wanted more than just text and images linked, saved and classified. Instead, He wanted interactive, self-motivating and performing presentation design that would encourage people to learn...