Memex and Beyond Web Site
Memex and Beyond
The Memex and Beyond web site is a major research, educational, and collaborative web site integrating the historical record of and current research in hypermedia. The name honors the 1945 publication of Vannevar Bush's article "As We May Think" in which he proposed a hypertext engine called the Memex, and the web site is an outgrowth of the 1995 Brown/MIT Bush Symposium honoring the 50th anniversary of its publication. It also contains the complete text of Andries van Dam's keynote speech for the first ACM hypertext conference, Hypertext '87.
The site is very tightly interlinked through graphical, spatial, and textual representations of the relationships among the people, projects, institutions, publications, conferences, and themes that comprise the hypermedia community.
Memex and Beyond is an outreach website of the NSF Graphics and Visualization Center, which is an NSF (National Science Foundation) Science and Technology Center. The Center is a consortium of five universities, including Brown University, CalTech, University of North Carolina, University of Utah, and Cornell University.
Current priorities for site development include:
The global index now contains entries for the following proceedings:
of all the hypertext proceedings
- Interlinking the global index and the
archives (abstracts and papers)
- Editing the global index, adding see also trails
- Extensive external links to tie together the worldwide hypertext research community
- Website-specific search engine
When that work is complete, work on the graphical, spatial, and semantic navigators will proceed.
- Topical guided trails from the see also trails in the index
- Hypertext primer and history that contains pointers to topical guided trails
- Profiles of key pioneers such as Doug Engelbart, with relevant external links
- Comparative analyses of leading hypertext projects, both current and historical
The history log contains a record of additions, changes, and deletions to the site.
The web site components will provide a very rich mixture of content and navigation mechanisms. There will be three types of mechanisms: graphical, spatial, and textual. Currently, only the textual navigation mechanism is in place.
The diagram at the top of the this page represents the nature of
hypermedia links as both the static, discrete node-link relationships
characteristics of traditional hypertext and as the dynamic, continuous
forms seen in contemporary systems.
An interactive version of this diagram is available by clicking the
small image on the left. WARNING - It is *very* slow in loading. Each node in the active diagram will link to a
key concept, such as
spatial hypertext, or project, such as
The spiral represents the continuum of time from 1945, when the Memex
article was published, through the most recent conference, Hypertext'96.
A click anywhere on the spiral will link to a time-based presentation of the key projects and people at that point in time.
The spatial navigators will be Java-activated imagemap versions of
' Web Squirrel farms. These farms are 2D representations of a domain in which the elements can be annotated Web resources, such as URLs and email addresses, or text. The advantage of this representation over a list or outline is that logical relationships among
elements can be graphically shown by their spatial relationships. The
farm from which each spatial navigator is generated will be downloadable from
The term 'farm' refers to information farming, which is discussed in a technical briefing entitled "Enactment in Information Farming" given by Mark Bernstein at Hypertext '93: "Information farming (or gardening) views the cultivation of information as a
continuing, collaborative activity performed by groups of people working together to achieve changing individual and common goals."
The texual components include:
Every element of the site will be able to be reached from the global index component, and every component contains links to other related components. For example, each entry in the people component contains links to the institutions, papers, and projects
associated with that person.