Source by Vannevar Bush

device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it can be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.

Bush envisioned the memex behaving like an “intricate web of trails” similar to the function of the human mind, which he believed works by a method of “association” and not via an alphabetical index. According to Levy (2008, 508), the most “innovative feature” of Bush’s memex system was the establishing of associative indices between portions of microfilmed text—what we now call hypertext links—so that researchers could follow trails of useful information through masses of literature.

Tapping a few keys projects the head of the trail. A lever runs through it at will, stopping at interesting items, going off on side excursions. It is an interesting trail, pertinent to the discussion.

The web is not the memex

See also: the garden and the stream

  1. A memex contains both original materials and the materials. Unlike the web, there is no read-only version of the memex. Anything you read you can link and annotate. Not just reply, but change
  2. Links are associative (read: backlinks)
  3. Links and annotations are made by readers as well as writers. A stunning thing that we forget, but the link here is not part of the author’s intent, but of the reader’s analysis. On the world wide web of course, only an author gets to determine links. What would it be like to have Curius-like annotations by default?