by Theodore Holm Nelson
IN A WHARTON LOUNGE A LITTLE MORE THAN 50 YEARS AGO, a Swarthmore student named Ted Nelson tried to compose a difficult seminar paper. He was overflowing with ideas and awash in distractions, and e was intensely frustrated that these ideas could not be easily organized on paper. He wondered if the recently invented computer might play a role in solving the problem and sketched out some ideas for how a literary machine might facilitate better term papers, better libraries, and indeed a better repository for the world's documents. The pursuit of that idea changed the world.
Read my discussion of Possiplex: Ted Nelson ’59 and the Literary Machine in the Swarthmore College Bulletin.