For organizational purposes, my annotated bibliography shall be separated by function, then by year, then by authors last name. A restriction: I am trying to follow a back-to-front approach meaning, I am not as interested in articles from the later-nineties and two-thousands telling about how the Web is not what hypertext systems were - instead I am interested in work from 1985-1993 as visions: grander, milder and different than the WWW; the past as shaping the future, looked at from the present - a historical perspective. Does that make sense? Is it possible to look at a period of time whose ideas are so connected, yet so disconnected with what we have today without some morsel of hindsight?

Scope: Largely, the articles gathered here were found through annotations contained in bibliographies of other articles. Some articles and authors, for example Jeff Conklin, David J. Bolter, Randall H. Trigg, Norman Meyrowitz and others were cited so often it was impossible to ignore their contributions. Other methods of gathering "nodes" was using various databases: ACM Digital Library, Web of Knowledge, etc.

Idea Management/Academic Work

» Conklin, Jeff. "Hypertext: An Introduction and Survey." IEEE Computer 20 (9), 1987. link, notes

Jeff Conklin's survey of hypertext software and theory, introducing the term "cognitive overheard," is likely the most-cited introduction to the subject in twenty-four pages. Conklin breaks hypertext implementations into four systems(Macro literary, Problem Exploration(see his article on gIBIS), structured browsing, and general hypertext) giving examples of each. The section called "The Essence of Hypertext" gives a taxonomy of links(covered in the link glossary), as well as a discussion of nodes present in different systems. The article closes with the advantages and disadvantages of hypertext. Though Conklin analysis of the disadvantages of hypertext fall short of an in-depth look, one can understand the optimistic outlook in 1987. This article captures that zeitgeist.

» Berners-Lee, Tim. Information Management: A Proposal. unpublished, March 1989, May 1990. link

The proposal for what would later become the World Wide Web started as an answer to keeping track of information at CERN, the world's largest particle physics laboratory. Berners-Lee wrote that the problems with hierarchical and keyword-based systems is their inability to reproduce the individualized, fast-moving, "web"-like structure present in the CERN environment. To solve the information management problem, he proposed a non-hierarchical "linked" system. After giving a basic rhetoric of links, he listed the requirements such a system must meet to function at CERN: Remote access across networks, Heterogeneity(access from different systems), Non-Centralisation, Access to existing data, Private links(like bookmarks(see early browsers), as well as personal annotations), Bells and Whistles("storage of ASCII text, and display on 24x80 screens…"), Data analysis("An intriguing possibility…"), Live links. He gives his impression of the state of hypertext research, and possible uses for his system. The proposal ends with a request for funding and staff to work on the project. There are several places in the report that Berners-Lee hints that the project may be useful beyond CERN.

» Trigg, Randall H. "From Trailblazing to Guided Tours: The Legacy of Vannevar Bush's Vision of Hypertext Use." in From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine. Ed. by: James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn. Boston: Academic Press, 1991. Amazon link

A feature of Vannevar Bush's vision of the Memex that has not yet been realized is trail creation - or documenting the path a user creates as he accesses nodes in a hypertext system. Trigg discusses the access of nodes as creation of a new node, giving the user the knowledge not only of where he stopped, but how he arrived there. He highlights design elements. In the course of expounding on the systems, Trigg defines Textnet's three link types: vertical, horizontal, and jumping. A "document card" in NoteCards was a function that brought together selected nodes onto one page for easy printing, something akin to Paul Otlet's idea of a Universal Book on a more personal level. "History cards" were 'cards'/nodes that held user-constructed and semi-automated logs of changes made to a node - an early incarnation of versioning. Something similar but not quite saving a trail are "history" and "bookmarks," which Trigg mentions as elements of HyperCard, Intermedia(in a limited way) and NoteCards, respectively. The systems mentioned in the article did not reach the status of the mythical Memex, or, coincidentally, the WWW, because as individual systems they did not hold enough information to make them universally useful. To quote the third of three points Trigg makes following this trail of thought, he blames, "monolithic environments, closed systems, proprietary black-box editors, and a lack of standards [that have made it] technically…nearly impossible to integrate information from different sources"(364).

» DeRose, Steven J. "Expanding the Notion of Links." Hypertext '87 Proceedings. Pittsburgh, PA: ACM, 1989. link

Steven DeRose addresses the hypertext needs of (primarily literary) scholars by creating a taxonomy of links. He describes twelve different link types, some of which map onto links previously mentioned by others (Conklin(1987), Trigg(1991 & others)). Brief examples are made of needs and link-related solutions are given from the CD-Word Library, a hypertext version of the bible(produced by the Dallas Theological Seminary) and other's work with classical texts(The Perseus Project). (note: the link types from this article have yet to be added to the link glossary).


» Bolter, Jay David. Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1991.

Writing Space puts hypertext within the historical context of writing and print. Jay David Bolter explores how the emergence of the writing on the computer in general, and hypertext specifically has created a new "writing space," shifting the way people think about textual composition. Similar to Landow, Bolter tackles the theoretical questions of reader vs. writer(or, what is authority in hypertextual writing), sequentiality(and other questionable qualities), and the changing views of information space. Though Bolter has sections throughout the book on hypertext and hyperfiction, the implications of the subject matter far exceed it; the book brings the history of writing to the present, and slightly beyond. (related: George P. Landow's review of Writing Space)

Computer-Aided Instruction


Conklin, Jeff and Begeman, Michael L. "gIBIS: A Hypertext Tool for Team Design Deliberation." Hypertext '87 Proceedings. Chapel Hill: Association for Computing Machinery, 1987. Pages 247-251. link

Visions, Vapors, Theory, History

» Nelson, Theodor Holm. Literary Machines 93.1. Sausalito, CA: Mindful Press, 1992. link to buy

In Literary Machines, previously published in 87.1 and 91.1, (respectively corresponding to the year of publication), hypertext visionary Ted Nelson expounds in detail on his Xanadu hypertext system. The idea is considered from various angles, all of which, except for the technical chapter, skew theoretical. But the theory behind what Xanadu, an all-encompassing system for document(in its wider sense; Nelson hates seeing computers as paper-equivalents) creation, distribution and retrieval, is what is most exciting about the book. Many of the special features discussed in other papers appear as obvious staples in Xanadu, including versioning, networking beyond LANs(Land Area Networks), privacy controls, a special copyright system(admittedly this is one of the weak points of the system), indexing of media beyond text, and the primacy of (many types of) links not as pathways from node to node, but as creator of the node itself. The final chapter of the book outlines a business plan for Nelson's creation. Acknowledged, but put aside is the lack of a front-end interface(which, in a sense, "made" the WWW). An article was published in Wired magazine in 1995 criticizing Nelson and calling Xanadu "the longest-running vaporware project in the history of computing". This should not discourage anyone interested in hypertext from reading about Ted Nelson's vision.

» Berners-Lee, Tim (w/ Fischetti, Mark). Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web by its Inventor. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1999. Amazon link

Inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee discusses his initial inspirations, the creation of, and the growth of the WWW in narrative form from approximately 1980-1999. Of particular interest is Berners-Lee's 1980 program ENQUIRE, his first attempt to create a "hypertext" system(w/ two-way internal links between pages in a file, and one-way external links between files - "Each page was a 'node' in the program, a little like an index card"(10).)(9-11). In 1984, Berners-Lee attempted to write Tangle, a program that was meant to automatically reference(or link) similar strings of characters (12-13). The middle of the book is devoted to the WWW; with major themes being soliciting institutional support, organizing the World Wide Web Consortium(W3C), and popularizing his invention. The last portion explains the Semantic Web. Weaving the Web is good for non-technical individuals looking for a brief history and philosophy of the WWW from Tim Berners-Lee's perspective.

» Gillies, James and Cailliau, Robert. How the Web was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Amazon Link

How the Web was Born joins the narratives of the early days of networking, history of CERN and the rise of hypertext and associated systems as they combine in inspiring Tim Berners-Lee to create the WWW. Because it is full of digressions, biographical, explanatory and otherwise, How the Web was Born is a useful jump-off point for investigations on a variety of technological topics of which the WWW is one. The simplistic explanations of technological details that are perfect for non-technical readers may cause more sophisticated readers to skim or skip ahead. Of particular note for the theme of this bibliography are the two major facets of Tim Berners-Lee's initial desires for the WWW, as both mentioned by him in his interview for the book and in the first web browser he designed on the NeXt computer, (1) The browser should have read/write capabilities like a word processor so anyone could easily publish, (2) Since the system was designed to manage information from distributed sources, read/write capabilities implied a culture of collaboration from critical tasks to mundane tasks like "planning a trip"(this is discussed on pgs. 190-195). Bias and credibility must both be considered to play a part in the narratives of the book since Robert Calliau is credited for being the WWW's co-creator and earliest supporter. After reading Tim Berners-Lee's thin autobiography - getting into specifics with Gillies and Cailliau is a welcome step.

Cailliau, Robert, and Helen Ashman. "Hypertext in the Web - a History." ACM Computing Surveys 31.4 ( December 1999). link

Notes on Moulthrop, Stuart. "You Say You Want a Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of Media". Postmodern Culture 1(3), May 1991. link

» Meyrowitz, Norman. "Hypertext—Does it Reduce cholesterol, Too?" in From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine. Ed. by: James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn. Boston: Academic Press, 1991. (based on the keynote address at ACM's Hypertext '89 conference) Amazon link

In attempting to capture the past, present and future of hypertext, Meyrowitz compares the vision of Vannevar Bush's hypertext(Memex) with the specific capabilities of 1989 technology and outlines his "Desktop of Tomorrow," along with the challenges involved in its creation. Features of a hypertext system that would be incorporated into Meyrowitz's Desktop would be: Anchors, Navigational Links, Warm Links, Hot Links, Active Anchors, Wayfinding, History(see Trigg, 1991), Paths/Trails(also Trigg, 1991), Maps, Filtering, Content Searching, Virtual Links, Automatic Links, Group Work capabilities, Semantic Markup and reference and linguistic Services(spell-checker!). Of the challenges, relevant are #5: "a common anchor model," #6/#7 that deal with access and standardization of systems across networks; "Hypertext has been going through the emperor's new clothes syndrome, where we talk about it as a multi-user technology and a wide-area technology but typically the systems are sing-user systems that aren't networked and don't solve many of the multi-user problems…We have to…concentrate on the problem of shared hypertexts"(312), though #12 urges understanding before standardization, #11: copyright considerations(something seldom mentioned in the context of hypertext except by Ted Nelson), and #14: application-independent protocols for the hypermedia features listed above. The article is informal, but full of vision that is only being incorporated into our desktops in recent times(over a decade after the talk); some of this vision fit into the WWW, but, like the various links types, some didn't.

» McAleese, Ray. "Navigation and Browsing in Hypertext." in Hypertext: theory into practice. Norwood, NJ: ABLEX, 1989.

McAleese synthesized types of browsing(as opposed to navigation) generally before getting into how it applies to hypertext. Much of the article is explanations of screenshots, mostly of NoteCards, but also of SemNet and HyperCard. The article attempts to make sense of features offered in different hypertext systems, especially how they differ or enhance browsing for the purposes of writing and learning. McAleese is unable to comprehensively wrap the article/chapter around the concept, but the idea of browsing with regards to the environments presented within hypertext systems is worth noting.


» Gluck, Myke. HyperCard, Hypertext, and, Hypermedia for Libraries and Media Centers. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1989.

Chapter 1 gives a basic overview of hypertext/hypermedia systems, outlining their advantages and disadvantages - including a discussion of diserable features as well as superficial and deep problems. Chapters 2-7 focus on using Apple's HyperCard, with screenshots and exercises. Chapter 8 introduces thirty hypertext systems at various stages of development, giving the developer, development status, "source" company or institution and one to several paragraphs describing the systems. One of the appendices also gives a lenghty hypertext/hypermedia bibliography with largely application-specific newspaper, magazine and scholarly articles as well as reports and books. Following this is a list of HyperCard references.

» Knee, Michael and Atkinson, Steven D. Hypertext/Hypermedia: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990. Amazon link

Probably the most exhaustive annotated bibliography of materials("books, book chapters, journal articles, conference proceedings, ERIC documents, government publications, and hypertext documents.") pertaining to hypertext/hypermedia before 1990. Approximately 500 items listed in alphabetical order by author's last name. A scan of the index notes the most popular subjects to be(in alphabetical order, hypertext software in italics): CAI, collaborative work, Guide, human-computer interaction, HyperCard(the most popular), HyperTalk (programming language), information retrieval, interactive multimedia, Intermedia, NoteCards, systems design, user interface.

» Eastgate: Serious Hypertext

The website of multi-faceted hypertext company Eastgate Systems Inc. which publishes and sells hypertext fiction, non-fiction and poetry as well as physical books including Ted Nelson's seminal Literary Machines 93.1, and "tools for information farming" including Tinderbox, a personal hypertext system(available only for Mac) and Storyscape, a program to create hypertext fiction(See the work of Jay David Bolter and Michael Joyce, or see their joint paper). Other than the commercial portions of the site, there is HypertextNOW(enter here or here) which has plenty of hypertext theory, mostly related to hypertext fiction and written by theorist and CEO Mark Bernstein, and a useful bibliography(not annotated, but some of the articles are included here). Also of interest is the Reading Room that has examples of hypertext fiction. This page has a list of further online resources.

Annotation Count: 13

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