Ted Nelson

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Ted Nelson, American Sociologist


"Theodor Nelson (born 1937) is an American sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology. He coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1963 and published it in 1965. He also is credited with first use of the words transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity and teledildonics. The main thrust of his work has been to make computers easily accessible to ordinary people" [1]. His motto is:

"A user interface should be so simple that a beginner in an emergency can understand it within ten seconds" [2].


"Although Ted Nelson had many projects and platonic ideals for what the web should be, many of these projects never made it through to completion"...in part because "he did not possess the technical knowledge to tell others how his ideas could be implemented, and so many people simply ignored him (and have ever since)" [3]

ZigZag® structure

An alternative form of deep non-hierarchical structure (multidimensional crossed lists).

Parallel hypertext

Fundamentally different hypertext viewing.

The Xanadu® model

An alternative form of deep document.

"Xanadu was concieved as a tool to preserve and increase humanity's literature and art. Xanadu would consist of a world-wide network that would allow information to be stored not as separate files but as connected literature. Documents would remain accessible indefinitely. Users could create virtual copies of any document. Instead of having copyrighted materials, the owners of the documents would be automatically paid via electronic means a micropayment for the virtual copying of their documents" [4].

Further Reading

External Links