Memory Machines

The Evolution of Hypertext

Belinda Barnet
 

Memory Machines

An exploration of the history of hypertext, an influential concept that forms the underlying structure of the World Wide Web and innumerable software applications.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9780857280602
July 2013 | 192 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6 | 18 b+w illustrations
 
PRICE:  £70.00  /  $115.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com
 
 
9780857280602

About This Book

‘“Memory Machines” will appeal to anyone who is curious about the history of computing in general and hypertext in particular. This book is highly recommended for computer science students and for students of history of science and technology, as well as for computing and engineering enthusiasts.’ —Stephanie Wical, Online Information Review

‘[A] richly layered account, focusing on oral histories as much as an analysis of documents. […] This volume provides a sophisticated and vital history of early computing, usefully exploring conceptual ideas around hypertext, outlining the constraints on pioneering efforts to implement models of hypertext as technical prototypes, and ultimately demonstrating how these collectively shaped all subsequent efforts to develop computer-based prototypes for information structuring and retrieval.’ —Craig Hight, ‘Media International Australia’

‘“Memory Machines” will appeal to anyone who is curious about the history of computing in general and hypertext in particular. This book is highly recommended for computer science students and for students of history of science and technology, as well as for computing and engineering enthusiasts.’ —Stephanie Wical, Online Information Review

This book explores the history of hypertext, an influential concept that forms the underlying structure of the World Wide Web and innumerable software applications. Barnet combines an analysis of contemporary literature with her exclusive interviews with those at the forefront of the hypertext innovation. She tells both the human and the technological story, tracing its path back to an analogue device imagined by Vannevar Bush in 1945, before modern computing had happened.

‘Memory Machines’ offers an expansive record of hypertext over the last 60 years, pinpointing the major breakthroughs and fundamental flaws in its evolution. Barnet argues that some of the earliest hypertext systems were more richly connected and in some respects more flexible than the Web; this is also a fascinating account of the paths not taken.

Barnet ends the journey through computing history at the birth of mass domesticated hypertext, at the point that it grew out of the university labs and into the Web. And yet she suggests that hypertext may not have completed its evolutionary story, and may still have the capacity to become something different, something much better than it is today.

Readership: This book will appeal to academics in media and communications, cultural studies, computing science, and library and information science. 

Author Information

Belinda Barnet is a lecturer in media and communications at Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia.

http://blog.arsmemoriae.com/

@Manjusrii

Table of Contents

Foreword: To Mandelbrot in Heaven – Stuart Moulthrop; Preface; Chapter 1: Technical Evolution; Chapter 2: Memex as an Image of Potentiality; Chapter 3: Augmenting the Intellect: NLS; Chapter 4. The Magical Place of Literary Memory: Xanadu; Chapter 5: Seeing and Making Connections: HES and FRESS; Chapter 6: Machine-Enhanced (Re)minding: The Development of Storyspace; Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography; Index