Introduction to the Memex

I just posted a new handout, introducing students in my “History and Future of the Book” course to Vannevar Bush and his memex. I’ll probably tweak that handout a bit more, but it’s quitting time today.

In 1946, Vannevar Bush published “As
We May Think
” (I assigned it in EL236, but I’m not assigning the
whole article this time — this online handout should provide you with
what you need to know).  It provides you with background information
that will help you understand the assigned text, which is Buckland’s
analysis of the pre-history of the imaginary machine Bush described.

proposed (but nobody ever built) a mechanical device that would permit a
reader to locate, annotate, and connect individual microfilm pages. 

actions he describes seem trivial to us today, just as a photocopier,
or a spill-proof ball-point pen, or an eraser-tipped pencil are so much a
part of our scholarly life that we can hardly comprehend their
revolutionary impact upon our productivity.– “Memex & Buckland” Topics in Media and Culture: History and Future of the Book