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

“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.” Dennis G. Jerz

On the Trail of the Memex: Vannevar Bush, Weblogs and the Google GalaxyDichtung Digital)

Thanks to Nick Montfort, Clancy Ratliff, and Charlie Lowe, each of whom responded within hours of my request for help on my rough draft. I had this article ready to go this weekend, when Google’s purchase of Blogger sort of threw me for a loop.