- Oct 2022
Local file Local file
In another fashion, Bush described a ‘memory index’ that would work ‘as wemay think’, by which, cryptically, he meant not artificial intelligence but the capabilityto retrace the paths of the reader’s thought process.
I quite like the wording of this sentence.
- Sep 2022
Artykuł przedstawia podłoże rozwoju metod rozpoznawania dokumentów oraz wyszukiwania informacji do 1939 roku, czyli do momentu, w którym Vannevar Bush napisał artykuł „As We May Think”, opublikowane potem w 1945 roku.
Artykuł przekonuje do tego, że pomysł Busha nie był ani tak oryginalny, ani tak rewolucyjny, jak się go przedstawia. Autor przedstawia także stanowiska innych badaczy czy wynalazców, którzy mieli zarzuty względem projektu Memeksu.
Autor skupia się przede wszystkim na osobie Emanuela Goldberga i jego wynalazku wyszukiwarki mikrofilmów. Przedstawia także powody, które spowodowały, że jego wynalazek był pomijany i zapomniany.
- fotoelektryczne przeszukiwanie mikrofilmów
- Schuermeyer Walter
- historia technologii
- wyszukiwarki mikrofilmów
- Goldberg Emanuel
- Bush Vannevar
- archeologia mediów
- Otlet Paul
Artykuł przedstawia historię idei Memeksu, autorstwa Vannevara Busha. Autor przedstawia także informacje na temat różnych wydań jego tekstu na ten temat.
W tekście znajdują się także informacje na temat maszyny Rapid Selector, autorstwa Ralpha R. Shawa, powstałej na tym, co pisał Emmanuel Goldberg, który z kolei inspirował się pracą Busha.
- Aug 2022
Historical Hypermedia: An Alternative History of the Semantic Web and Web 2.0 and Implications for e-Research. .mp3. Berkeley School of Information Regents’ Lecture. UC Berkeley School of Information, 2010. https://archive.org/details/podcast_uc-berkeley-school-informat_historical-hypermedia-an-alte_1000088371512. archive.org.
Interface as Thing - book on Paul Otlet (not released, though he said he was working on it)
- W. Boyd Rayward 1994 expert on Otlet
- Otlet on annotation, visualization, of text
- TBL married internet and hypertext (ideas have sex)
- V. Bush As We May Think - crosslinks between microfilms, not in a computer context
- Ted Nelson 1965, hypermedia
- Michael Buckland book about machine developed by Emanuel Goldberg antecedent to memex
- Emanuel Goldberg and His Knowledge Machine: Information, Invention, and Political Forces (New Directions in Information Management) by Michael Buckland (Libraries Unlimited, (March 31, 2006)
- Otlet and Goldsmith were precursors as well
four figures in his research: - Patrick Gattis - biologist, architect, diagrams of knowledge, metaphorical use of architecture; classification - Paul Otlet, Brussels born - Wilhelm Ostwalt - nobel prize in chemistry - Otto Neurath, philosophher, designer of isotype
- wrote bibliography on law
- book: Something on Bibliography #wanttoread
- universal decimal classification system
- Le Corbusier - architect worked with Otlet for building for Mundaneum; See: https://socks-studio.com/2019/05/05/the-shape-of-knowledge-the-mundaneum-by-paul-otlet-and-henri-la-fontaine/
Otlet was interested in both the physical as well as the intangible aspects of the Mundaneum including as an idea, an institution, method, body of work, building, and as a network.<br /> (#t=1020)
Early iPhone diagram?!?
(roughly) armchair to do the things in the web of life (Nelson quote) (get full quote and source for use) (circa 19:30)
compares Otlet to TBL
Michael Buckland 1991 <s>internet of things</s> coinage - did I hear this correctly? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things lists different coinages
Turns out it was "information as thing"<br /> See: https://hypothes.is/a/kXIjaBaOEe2MEi8Fav6QsA
sugane brierre and otlet<br /> "everything can be in a document"<br /> importance of evidence
The idea of evidence implies a passiveness. For evidence to be useful then, one has to actively do something with it, use it for comparison or analysis with other facts, knowledge, or evidence for it to become useful.
transformation of sound into writing<br /> movement of pieces at will to create a new combination of facts - combinatorial creativity idea here. (circa 27:30 and again at 29:00)<br /> not just efficiency but improvement and purification of humanity
put things on system cards and put them into new orders<br /> breaking things down into smaller pieces, whether books or index cards....
Otlet doesn't use the word interfaces, but makes these with language and annotations that existed at the time. (32:00)
Otlet created diagrams and images to expand his ideas
Otlet used octagonal index cards to create extra edges to connect them together by topic. This created more complex trees of knowledge beyond the four sides of standard index cards. (diagram referenced, but not contained in the lecture)
Otlet is interested in the "materialization of knowledge": how to transfer idea into an object. (How does this related to mnemonic devices for daily use? How does it relate to broader material culture?)
Otlet inspired by work of Herbert Spencer
space an time are forms of thought, I hold myself that they are forms of things. (get full quote and source) from spencer influence of Plato's forms here?
Otlet visualization of information (38:20)
S. R. Ranganathan may have had these ideas about visualization too
atomization of knowledge; atomist approach 19th century examples:S. R. Ranganathan, Wilson, Otlet, Richardson, (atomic notes are NOT new either...) (39:40)
Otlet creates interfaces to the world - time with cyclic representation - space - moving cube along time and space axes as well as levels of detail - comparison to Ted Nelson and zoomable screens even though Ted Nelson didn't have screens, but simulated them in paper - globes
Katie Berner - semantic web; claims that reporting a scholarly result won't be a paper, but a nugget of information that links to other portions of the network of knowledge.<br /> (so not just one's own system, but the global commons system)
Mention of Open Annotation (Consortium) Collaboration:<br /> - Jane Hunter, University of Australia Brisbane & Queensland<br /> - Tim Cole, University of Urbana Champaign<br /> - Herbert Van de Sompel, Los Alamos National Laboratory annotations of various media<br /> see:<br /> - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311366469_The_Open_Annotation_Collaboration_A_Data_Model_to_Support_Sharing_and_Interoperability_of_Scholarly_Annotations - http://www.openannotation.org/spec/core/20130205/index.html - http://www.openannotation.org/PhaseIII_Team.html
trust must be put into the system for it to work
coloration of the provenance of links goes back to Otlet (~52:00)
Creativity is the friction of the attention space at the moments when the structural blocks are grinding against one another the hardest. —Randall Collins (1998) The sociology of philosophers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (p.76)
- atomic ideas
- S. R. Ranganathan
- Open Annotation Collaboration
- Michael Buckland
- atomic notes
- Charles van den Heuvel
- Herbert Van de Sompel
- Le Corbusier
- octagonal index cards
- Ted Nelson
- Universal Decimal Classification
- Otto Neurath
- index cards
- Tim Cole
- Paul Otlet
- material culture
- Tim Berners-Lee
- Emanuel Goldberg
- atomist philosophy
- semantic web
- W. Boyd Rayward
- Jane Hunter
- Randall Collins
- Web 2.0
- Vannevar Bush
- Wilhelm Ostwalt
- materialization of knowledge
- mnemonic devices
- idea links
- Herbert Spencer
I got stuck over the weekend, so I totally missed Kevin Marks' memex demo at IndieWebCamp's Create Day, but it is an interesting little UI experiment.
I'll always maintain that Vannevar Bush really harmed the first few generations of web development by not mentioning the word commonplace book in his conceptualization. Marks heals some of this wound by explicitly tying the idea of memex to that of the zettelkasten however. John Borthwick even mentions the idea of "networked commonplace books". [I suspect a little birdie may have nudged this perspective as catnip to grab my attention—a ruse which is highly effective.]
Some of Kevin's conceptualization reminds me a bit of Jerry Michalski's use of The Brain which provides a specific visual branching of ideas based on the links and their positions on the page: the main idea in the center, parent ideas above it, sibling ideas to the right/left and child ideas below it. I don't think it's got the idea of incoming or outgoing links, but having a visual location on the page for incoming links (my own site has incoming ones at the bottom as comments or responses) can be valuable.
I'm also reminded a bit of Kartik Prabhu's experiments with marginalia and webmention on his website which plays around with these ideas as well as their visual placement on the page in different methods.
It also seems a bit reminiscent of Kevin Mark's experiments with hovercards in the past as well, which might be an interesting way to do the outgoing links part.
Next up, I'd love to see larger branching visualizations of these sorts of things across multiple sites... Who will show us those "associative trails"?
Another potential framing for what we're all really doing is building digital versions of Indigenous Australian's songlines across the web. Perhaps this may help realize Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly's dream for a "third archive"?
- The Brain
- Jerry Michalski
- MIT MediaLab
- Kevin Marks
- third archive
- user interface
- Vannevar Bush
- personal knowledge management
- IndieWeb Create Day
- associative trails
- Fold (storytelling website)
- knowledge graphs
One cannot hope thus to equal the speed and flexibility with which the mind follows an associative trail, but it should be possible to beat the mind decisively in regard to the permanence and clarity of the items resurrected from storage.
- May 2022
Local file Local file
You may find this book in the “self-improvement” category, but in adeeper sense it is the opposite of self-improvement. It is aboutoptimizing a system outside yourself, a system not subject to you
imitations and constraints, leaving you happily unoptimized and free to roam, to wonder, to wander toward whatever makes you feel alive here and now in each moment.
Some may categorize handbooks on note taking within the productivity space as "self-help" or "self-improvement", but still view it as something that happens outside of ones' self. Doesn't improving one's environment as a means of improving things for oneself count as self-improvement?
Marie Kondo's minimalism techniques are all external to the body, but are wholly geared towards creating internal happiness.
Because your external circumstances are important to your internal mental state, external environment and decoration can be considered self-improvement.
Could note taking be considered exbodied cognition? Vannevar Bush framed the Memex as a means of showing associative trails. (Let's be honest, As We May Think used the word trail far too much.)
How does this relate to orality vs. literacy?
Orality requires the immediate mental work for storage while literacy removes some of the work by making the effort external and potentially giving it additional longevity.
- Mar 2022
The vision of mem ex as a personal workstation was a powerful force in shaping the development of personal computers, our work on hypertext (Shneiderman and Kearsley, 1989), and the emergence of the World-Wide Web (Berners-Lee, 1993).
In 1998, Ben Shneiderman acknowledged the influence of Vannevar Bush's vision of the memex on his work on hypertext.
A list of all the questions that Vannevar Bush poses in the piece:
- What are the scientists to do next?
- Of what lasting benefit has been man's use of science and of the new instruments which his research brought into existence?
- Is this all fantastic?
- Will there be dry photography?
- What would it cost to print a million copies?
- The preparation of the original copy?
- To consider the first stage of the procedure, will the author of the future cease writing by hand or typewriter and talk directly to the record?
- Is it not possible that some day the path may be established more directly?
- Might not these currents be intercepted, either in the original form in which information is conveyed to the brain, or in the marvelously metamorphosed form in which they then proceed to the hand?
- Is it not possible that we may learn to introduce them without the present cumbersomeness of first transforming electrical vibrations to mechanical ones, which the human mechanism promptly transforms back to the electrical form?
- True, the record is unintelligible, except as it points out certain gross misfunctioning of the cerebral mechanism; but who would now place bounds on where such a thing may lead?
- Must we always transform to mechanical movements in order to proceed from one electrical phenomenon to another?
- Jan 2022
Generally speaking, his mode of referencing — developed in the 1950s! — make use of an idea thatwould later become the common technology of “hyperlinks” in the computer age. Luhmann himself calledhis system of references a “web-like system.”16 The metaphor of the web also suggests interpreting it alongnetwork-theoretical lines.17
This so-called link to computer science and prefiguring the internet is a bit too credulous here. Vannevar Bush prefigured the idea in 1945, but one can look back further to Konrad Gessner centuries before to make the same connections.
The essay is most famous for its description of a hypothetical information-retrieval system, the Memex, a kind of mechanical Evernote, in which a person's every "book, record, or communication" was microfilmed and cataloged.
It really kills me that there's so much hero worship of all this, particularly given the information processing power of index card systems at the time. I don't really think it took such a leap to image automating such a system given the technological bent of the time.
Of course actually doing it is another thing, but conceptualizing the idea at the time would have be de rigueur.
Bush 1939 Warning: Biblio formatting not applied. BushVannevar. Mechanization and the Record. Vannevar Bush Papers. Box 138, Speech Article Book File. Washington D.C. Library of Congress. 1939.
Original paper that became The Atlantic article As We May Think (1945).
- Nov 2021
Though firmly rooted in Renaissance culture, Knight's carefully calibrated arguments also push forward to the digital present—engaging with the modern library archives where these works were rebound and remade, and showing how the custodianship of literary artifacts shapes our canons, chronologies, and contemporary interpretative practices.
This passage reminds me of a conversation on 2021-11-16 at Liquid Margins with Will T. Monroe (@willtmonroe) about using Sönke Ahrens' book Smart Notes and Hypothes.is as a structure for getting groups of people (compared to Ahrens' focus on a single person) to do collection, curation, and creation of open education resources (OER).
Here Jeffrey Todd Knight sounds like he's looking at it from the perspective of one (or maybe two) creators in conjunction (curator and binder/publisher) while I'm thinking about expanding behond
This sort of pattern can also be seen in Mortimer J. Adler's group zettelkasten used to create The Great Books of the Western World series as well in larger wiki-based efforts like Wikipedia, so it's not new, but the question is how a teacher (or other leader) can help to better organize a community of creators around making larger works from smaller pieces. Robin DeRosa's example of using OER in the classroom is another example, but there, the process sounded much more difficult and manual.
This is the sort of piece that Vannevar Bush completely missed as a mode of creation and research in his conceptualization of the Memex. Perhaps we need the "Inventiex" as a mode of larger group means of "inventio" using these methods in a digital setting?
- Jun 2021
A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.
His definition of a Memex is simply a mechanized (or what we would now call digitized) commonplace book, which has a long history in the literature of knowledge management.
I'll note here that he's somehow still stuck on the mechanical engineering idea of mechanized. Despite the fact that he was the advisor to Claude Shannon, father of the digital revolution, he is still thinking in terms of mechanical pipes, levers, and fluids. He literally had Shannon building a computer out of pipes and fluid while he was a student at MIT.
Reflecting on how new digital tools have re-invigorated annotation and contributed to the creation of their recent book, they suggest annotation presents a vital means by which academics can re-engage with each other and the wider world.
I've been seeing some of this in the digital gardening space online. People are actively hosting their annotations, thoughts, and ideas, almost as personal wikis.
Networked academic samizdat anyone?
- digital gardens
- commonplace books
- Vannevar Bush
- personal wikis
- academic samizdat
- May 2021
Long before Vannevar Bush, Francis Bacon cited Seneca to describe a similar ambition for his scientific method, which he hoped would “abridge the infinity of individual experience ... and remedy the complaint of vita brevis, ars longa.”
- Feb 2021
Not much substantive or new here for me.It is an intriguing question, but it's better to write my own response elsewhere.
In other words, Roam could be the thing the scientist uses for fun to organize their book notes, or they could also be the thing that same scientist uses at work to collaborate with colleagues on discovering new truths, paid for by their employer.
But why can't it do both?
Because it's on the same platform, they could allow people to make their notes public and shareable. They could add Webmention support so that one notebook could talk to another!
C'mon people!!? Don't you remember the dream of the Memex?
- Oct 2020
He highlights the Memex’s killer feature of associative linking and how trails of links have never been implemented in the way the Memex envisioned: It is associative indexing though, that is the essential feature of the memex, “the process of tying two items together is the important thing.” Bush describes a hypertext like mechanism at this point, but most interesting from my perspective is his emphasis on a trail as a fundamental unit — something we largely seem to have lost today. […] Documents and links we have aplenty. But where are our trails?
Your machine is a library not a publication device. You have copies of documents is there that you control directly, that you can annotate, change, add links to, summarize, and this is because the memex is a tool to think with, not a tool to publish with.
I can't help but think about Raymond Lull's combinatorial rings which he used as a thinking tool. Or Giordano Bruno's revision of Lull's tools as described in De Umbris Idearum. Given their knowledge of the art of memory stemming from rhetoric in combination with his combinatorial tool, he was essentially sitting on top of an early form of a memex.
I also can't help but think about Kicks Condor's Fraidyc.at reader tool that pulls in wiki content from TiddlyWikis and which have the potential to also make wikis publishing tools as well.
- Sep 2020
The trend had turned in the direction of digital machines, a whole new generation had taken hold. If I mixed with it, I could not possibly catch up with new techniques, and I did not intend to look foolish. [Bush 1970, 208]
One needs courage to endure looking foolish.
While the pioneers of digital computing understood that machines would soon accelerate human capabilities by doing massive calculations, Bush continued to be occupied with extending, through replication, human mental experience. [Nyce 1991, 124]
Ironic that adaptation was part of the memex and yet it did not adapt to the emerging field of digital computing.
In all versions of the Memex essay, the machine was to serve as a personal memory support. It was not a public database in the sense of the modern Internet: it was first and foremost a private device. It provided for each person to add their own marginal notes and comments, recording reactions to and trails from others' texts, and adding selected information and the trails of others by “dropping” them into their archive via an electro-optical scanning device. In the later adaptive Memex, these trails fade out if not used, and “if much in use, the trails become emphasized” [Bush 1970, 191] as the web adjusts its shape mechanically to the thoughts of the individual who uses it.
A personal memex must first and foremost be personal. No cloud based system can claim to be a memex because it loses the personal / private aspect.
So Memex was first and foremost an extension of human memory and the associative movements that the mind makes through information: a mechanical analogue to an already mechanical model of memory. Bush transferred this idea into information management; Memex was distinct from traditional forms of indexing not so much in its mechanism or content, but in the way it organised information based on association. The design did not spring from the ether, however; the first Memex design incorporates the technical architecture of the Rapid Selector and the methodology of the Analyzer — the machines Bush was assembling at the time.
How much further would Bush have gone if he had known about graph theory? He is describing a graph database with nodes and edges and a graphical model itself is the key to the memex.
Solutions were suggested (among them slowing down the machine, and checking abstracts before they were used) [Burke 1991, 154], but none of these were particularly effective, and a working machine wasn’t ready until the fall of 1943. At one stage, because of an emergency problem with Japanese codes, it was rushed to Washington — but because it was so unreliable, it went straight back into storage. So many parts were pulled out that the machine was never again operable [Burke 1991, 158]. In 1998, the Selector made Bruce Sterling’s Dead Media List, consigned forever to a lineage of failed technologies. Microfilm did not behave the way Bush and his team wanted it to. It had its own material limits, and these didn’t support speed of access.
People often get stuck on specific implementation details that are specific to their time, place, and context. Why didn't Bush consider other storage mechanisms?
In engineering science, there is an emphasis on working prototypes or “deliverables”. As Professor of Computer Science Andries van Dam put it in an interview with the author, when engineers talk about work, they mean “work in the sense of machines, software, algorithms, things that are concrete ” [Van Dam 1999]. This emphasis on concrete work was the same in Bush’s time. Bush had delivered something which had been previously only been dreamed about; this meant that others could come to the laboratory and learn by observing the machine, by watching it integrate, by imagining other applications. A working prototype is different to a dream or white paper — it actually creates its own milieu, it teaches those who use it about the possibilities it contains and its material technical limits. Bush himself recognised this, and believed that those who used the machine acquired what he called a “mechanical calculus”, an internalised knowledge of the machine. When the army wanted to build their own machine at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, he sent them a mechanic who had helped construct the Analyzer. The army wanted to pay the man machinist’s wages; Bush insisted he be hired as a consultant [Owens 1991, 24]. I never consciously taught this man any part of the subject of differential equations; but in building that machine, managing it, he learned what differential equations were himself … [it] was interesting to discuss the subject with him because he had learned the calculus in mechanical terms — a strange approach, and yet he understood it. That is, he did not understand it in any formal sense, he understood the fundamentals; he had it under his skin. (Bush 1970, 262 cited in Owens 1991, 24)
Learning is an act of creation. To understand something we must create mental and physical constructions. This is a creative process.
- Mar 2019
Engelbart insisted that effective intellectual augmentation was always realized within a system, and that any intervention intended to accelerate intellectual augmentation must be understood as an intervention in a system. And while at many points the 1962 report emphasizes the individual knowledge worker, there is also the idea of sharing the context of one’s work (an idea Vannevar Bush had also described in “As We May Think”), the foundation of Engelbart’s lifelong view that a crucial way to accelerate intellectual augmentation was to think together more comprehensively and effectively. One might even rewrite Engelbart’s words above to say, “We do not speak of isolated clever individuals with knowledge of particular domains. We refer to a way of life in an integrated society where poets, musicians, dreamers, and visionaries usefully co-exist with engineers, scientists, executives, and governmental leaders.” Make your own list.
- Feb 2019
- Dec 2018
Any given book_ of his library /_and presumably other textual material, such as notes/ can thus be called up and consulted with far greater facility than if it were taken from a shelf
This passage in Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" may be the first mention of what we now think of as digital annotation. The passage in the original article is slighly different... you can see it here.
- Sep 2018
I’m going to assume most people in the room here have read Vannevar Bush’s 1945 essay As We May Think. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to.
I seem to run across references to this every couple of months. Interestingly it is never in relation to information theory or Claude Shannon references which I somehow what I most closely relate it to.
- Apr 2018
Most scholars of hypertext of the time pointed to Vannevar Bush's 1945 article "As We May Think" as an important precursor to the Web and as providing important guidance for necessary development. Bush's model of hypertext was much richer than that of the early Web. Among other things, he envisioned people who would put together articles (or "trails") by finding a sequence of useful pages in different sources, annotating those pages, inserting a few pages of their own, and linking it all together. While the Web had "live links", those links were limited to the original authors of the text, so The Web provided essentially none of the features necessary for Bush's more collaborative model.
- Jun 2016
produce schema-aware writing tools that everyone can use to add new documents to a nascent semantic web
That dream does live on. Since Vannevar’s 1945 article on the Memex, we’ve been dreaming of such tools. Our current tools are quite far from that dream.
- Oct 2013