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The web does not resemble the memex

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Links are made by readers as well as writers. A stunning thing that we forget, but the link here is not part of the author’s intent, but of the reader’s analysis. The majority of links in the memex are made by readers, not writers. On the world wide web of course, only an author gets to determine links. And links inside the document say that there can only be one set of associations for the document, at least going forward.

[@mikecaulfield2015The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral]

The memex described in [@bush1945As We May Think] (as we may think) even though makes us think about how the internet looks like, it is different in some critical aspects. For example, that links are made by writers and not readers. Hypertext today is only a part of what it could have been.

More than that, there’s a substance to the vision that you can’t help but long for reading it. Note that connections here aren’t banter, but the construction of a mental model of a subject area. And that model can be taken by someone else and extended, built on. Humanity can advance, not through argument by through a true collaboration.

It really is the ultimate garden.

Here the idea of building a digital garden through an exchangeable set of knowledge 'databases' is at least intriguing. I called them backlinks across domains, but the ideas can go even further, they can relate to transclusion. I wonder if incremental change can lead to undesired outcomes also applies in this context.


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