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Vassar & Hypertext

Thursday, December 12th, 2002 · No Comments

This is really cool: Apparently my alma mater has a claim to the first use of the word hypertext (“hyper-text”) in print— in the February 3, 1965 issue of The Miscellany News (the same paper of which I was Editor-in-Chief in 1998). Here’s a snippet:

    “The potential use of the computer in the creative process was the most important aspect of Mr. Nelson’s lecture, particularly emphasizing the possibilities for the humanities. Using a personal anecdote, he reminded the audience of the problems of organizing material into a coherent piece of writing. As a new organization method Mr. Nelson has invented the PRIDE (Personalized Retrieval Indexing and Documentary Evolution) system.

    “In this system passages of material would be translated into machine language and filed in the machine in any sequence. With the proper instructions the machine would print out any sequence the writer wished to try, freeing him from the necessity of keeping the ideas in his head. Mr. Nelson pointed out that we often do not think in linear sequences but rather in “swirls” and in footnotes. He introduced the concept of the hyper-text, which would be a more flexible, more generalized, non-linear presentation of material on a particular subject.”

Tags: web stuff