Writing Space is fantastic & if you're into early-90s academic media-studies works about the effect of hypertext on literacy and cognition it's probably a must-read.

I can't help but notice that a lot of its arguments depend upon the assumption that there wouldn't be an enforced reader/writer divide in hyertext software -- that users would be able to add links and add their own notes in a diverse network of intertwingled text. Which of course the web doesn't support & sites don't allow.

It's certainly a big part of almost every hypertext package prior to TBL's fateful fuckup -- and for good reason, since it's half if not three quarters of everything important about hypertext!

By those standards, 'hyper literacy' is super rare. You wouldn't call someone who can't write 'literate' and likewise shouldn't call someone who isn't comfortable creating a sprawling hypertext universe of their own and linking together sections of other people's writing 'hyper-literate'.

Basically I'm back on my shit again & complaining that the WWW took the least interesting part of hypertext and declared that it was all of hypertext.

@enkiv2 I remember semi-free or demo (early shareware, maybe?) 'hypertext' authoring platforms in DOS floating around the BBS scene in the late 1980s.

Wish I could remember what they were! I played with one briefly, wanted to see if I could use it to make text adventures (I couldn't, not easily; didn't track enough internal state).

@enkiv2 but anyway one of my triggers is people assuming the Web 'invented hypertext' and I want to sit them down and tell them, first about Microsoft Help, then Novell Netware's manual thing, and THEN the EARLIER commercial 1980s systems that were all fighting with each other.

That was the thing, though; WWW was free. all the others very much weren't.

@enkiv2 (those commercial hypertext systems weren't hypertext in the sense you're talking about, though; they were all 'use this to create corporate documentation / educational training tools' sort of stuff, I think.

Yeah. I'm thinking more of educational collaborative hypertext stuff, which was often either free-but-not-for-home-computers or cheap-but-rarely-used.

The author of this book wrote something called StorySpace which looks awesome (and is still being *sold* somehow). A web based on that would be cool even.

@enkiv2 <<NFolio allowed users to view information received from multiple sources, add personal notes to that information, and create a personal "infobase" (information database) that could be shared and easily used by others. NFolio also allowed fast indexing using a feature that automatically indexed every word in an infobase>>

That does seem like the true hypertext vision!

Also I miss when search/indexing was considered just something the client should do, not a 'search engine'.

@enkiv2 Ah:

<<Folio Views is priced at $695. A personal edition, which has full functionality but cannot create new infobases, is $295. >>

Yep, just like the Web, greed killed the hypertext vision.

Can't let just ANYONE publish! That'd ruin the economics of everything!

@enkiv2 Also: Infobases, Inc became!

There's a story somewhere that needs to be told about the rise and fall of the Mormon tech sector (Novell, WordPerfect, Folio/Infobases, etc)

@natecull @enkiv2 @natecull @enkiv2 A very smart friend of mine who once headed a Novell project for a couple of years said the trouble with Mormon tech companies was, everyone went home to their families promptly at 5PM.

@natecull @enkiv2 then of course there was HyperCard / HyperTalk on Mac in the late 80s. I did some work at PARC in the the early 90s implementating a networked clone of HyperTalk in INTERLISP-D. Can't remember what the hell we used it for though.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

We are a cute and loving international community O(≧▽≦)O !