To Start...

Visions of Hypertext: An Annotated Bibliography…
…is a UCLA GSE&IS IS 596 Independent Study project created by Oleg Kagan(lifeinoleg at during the quarter of Fall 2008 and supervised by Professor Leah Lievrouw.

Philosophy, or, why? Initial Inspirations:

Ever since I have been able to think, I have been interested in how to better organize my thoughts. Many thinkers in the past have used various ingenious methods to represent their thoughts physically - to see them in the real world. Some thinkers, I'm referring to Walter Benjamin and Will Durant, made extensive use of notecards to document their ideas. These mental models were then channeled into articles, books, lectures. Paul Otlet and the Documentalists also made use of notecards but for a different purpose. They wanted to store, classify, and open all of the world's knowledge through the use of a bibliographic system housed in a huge card catalog. The "world brain" concept is a fascinating path to follow, but one that I will explore only tangentially. My interest lies more in the individual's idea/concept creation, storage, retrieval and modification. The digital medium has given us a new way to "extend" our minds, and in this I am referring specifically to Ted Nelson's work on hypertext(for which this site is named). Has the internet gone far enough in creating the idea-mapping system Ted Nelson and others hoped for? Not at all. As Nelson is known to say(I paraphrase), hypertext is not where he envisioned it. A hyperlink goes merely from one place to another. More is possible.

Personally, I have always felt restricted by the computer in a variety of ways - simply, the software is not malleable/usable enough and the hardware keeps the user too detached from the contents of the screen. It was in the movie version of Philip K. Dick's Minority Report, where Tom Cruise was moving information around with his hands that I saw a system I envision when I think of the ideal in mind-mapping technology; it must be a system that allows the user to intuitively "connect" with it. I will in a minor way, be exploring the physical interface issues that are necessarily vital when working with physical representations of ideas.

What is an idea/concept?

I suppose this should be a question in this type of inquiry. As I see it, within the confines of this project, an idea/concept is a module of thought. For example, an element of a speech, a paragraph or sentence of text, a joke, loosely an image, a sound, etc. The keyword here is module. It must have boundaries. Visually, the white space surrounding the text on a page — it does not need to start this way, but to be singled out as an idea or concept, it needs to be separated from other ideas or concepts. This will, of course, evolve.

I'm primarily thinking about tools to aid the authoring process(on right of model):

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