On the Trail of the Memex
Vannevar Bush, Weblogs and the Google Galaxy

by Dennis G. Jerz
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Hypertext as mediated by the Web browser has not proved to embody the qualities of the ideal post-structural text longed for by literary theorists such as George Landow; neither has the World Wide Web fulfilled the document-association function of the memex, the hypothetical research tool Vannevar Bush described in his 1945 essay, As We May Think. Bush’s memex was not merely a form of photo-mechanical hypertext, but also a means for the full-scale transfer of complex collaborative thought processes, as encoded by individual researchers via their own personal document association schemas. While weblogs, the most influential textual genre truly native to the World Wide Web, do facilitate the exchange of information across the Internet, that information must be carefully filtered in order to be useful. Google’s February 2003 purchase of the popular weblogging platform Blogger signals a shift towards content production that may create a conflict of interest; nevertheless, Google’s proven ability to mine the data encoded in annotated trails of linked documents may create the synergy necessary to fulfill Vannevar Bush’s vision.

1. Weblogs
2. Of Memex, Meme, and Machine
3. Hypertext Escapes from the Laboratory
4.History of Weblogs

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