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GigaOm: 50 years ago today the word “hypertext” was introduced

Posted by Soledad Vega on Fri, 08/28/2015 - 16:55

Hey look! It's the 50 year anniversary of 'hypertext', aka: what facilitates the link! Here's an interview with the man who coined the word.

Article by Byron Reese for GigaOm

On August 24, 1965 Ted Nelson used the word “hypertext” (which he coined) in a paper he presented at the Association for Computing Machinery. I was able to interview him earlier this month about the event and his early thoughts on the future of computing.  

It is hard to know where to start when writing an introduction for Ted Nelson because his interests and accomplishments have spanned so many areas across six decades. To get a sense of the breadth and depth of them, the best thing to do is to read over his CV on his website

Byron Reese: Well, we are coming upon the 50th anniversary of your presentation of your paper “A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing and the Indeterminate” at the Association for Computing Machinery where you introduced the world to the word “hypertext.” What do you recollect about that event?

Ted Nelson: First of all, remember that I was building up to it for years beforehand, thinking about hypertext and how to present the idea to the world.

So for me it was an important rollout, a rollout of my ideas. And I took it very seriously. And because of my partially theatrical background, I was very conscious of giving a good show.

This was in New York in midsummer?

Pittsburgh. I think it was hot, but we were in an air-conditioned hotel.

Tell us about what it was like to give that talk.

Well, from my point of view, I saw it as my major career rollout, daring and intense. I wasn’t so much scared as excited and keyed up. I was going to tell the world, from a literary and philosophical point of view, where interactive documents would go. I was about to tell a technical group that their whole world would be redefined.

- Read more at GigaOM