I was delighted to see this tweet come through my timeline today.
Vannevar Bush's Memex, as imagined by Life Magazine after they syndicated our 1945 story: pic.twitter.com/TDGal7FjNK
— Alexis C. Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) July 5, 2013
As the description says, this is a hypothetical drawing of Vanvevar Bush’s memex device, one of the first hypertext machines imagined. I wrote about this machine in [my thesis in graduate school](http://scholarworks.montana.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1/889/BeckerM0507.pdf?sequence=1).
In 1945, Bush was the director of the government’s Office of Scientific Research and Development. In the wake of World War II, so much research was being done that the centuries-old means of scholarly communication wasn’t keeping up. Something had to be done to modernize it, and Bush proposed a punch card-driven device he called the “memex.”
Here’s how I described it a few years ago:
>The memex was intended to model human memory. A memex user might read a text and then link it to another text
by association. These â€œtrailsâ€ were what Bush saw as the â€œessential feature of the memexâ€ because they allowed the user to return to what he or she was doing, perhaps months later, and recall those same trails with the push of a button.
A lot of people see the memex notion as the predecessor of the hyperlink, which, of course, we all use everyday.
In a week in which [the creator of the computer mouse and modern user interface design passed away](http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/technology/douglas-c-engelbart-inventor-of-the-computer-mouse-dies-at-88.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0), it’s good to remember your Internet roots.