About An Open Hyperdocument System (OHS) 0

Overview 1

OHS diagram
Click to enlarge
Source: see Engelbart's Bootstrap Paradigm Map for whole OHS series of slides

Doug Engelbart's concept of an open hyperdocument system (OHS) is an open source framework identifying the key features and functionality needed in our information technology, across all platforms and applications, to facilitate the fastest possible evolution of Collective IQ for society and business. In other words, OHS addresses the basic requirements for boosting our Collective IQ. 1a

The baseline requirements which Engelbart identified as a starting point for OHS are still largely missing from today's technology. For example, the ability to uniquely address any object in any file is essential, allowing for precision browsing, sharing, extracting and editing of the contents. Spreadsheet apps have long offered several ways to uniquely and predictably identify, jump to, link to, or operate on a specific cell or array of cells. However, the rest of the infosphere, including the world wide web which made hyperlinking a household word, does not yet offer a reliable way to identify, link to, jump to or otherwise address a specific paragraph, section or multi-media object within a file; as a rule it is only addressible if the author happened to insert an ID or anchor name at that exact point in the document, and if the user can discover its presence, and manually append it to a URL. Whereas user addressibility of a specific frame or segment of video footage is now supported in HTML standards, the implementation is only available on a limited basis. Further, the prevailing paradigm is still largely based on searching and scrolling through WYSIWYG files, missing the true promise of new media more closely aligning with how our brains think and connect ideas, thus augmenting our collective intellect in powerful new ways.

Basic OHS requirements include fine-grained addressability of all objects and media types, allowing for greater agility and permeability in the knowledgesphere, coupled with flexible ways of viewing, traversing, manipulating, arranging, sharing, utilizing, and advancing the knowledge our work depends on.

Highlights 2

See the OHS Framework Technology Template for complete list, and Draft OHS Project Plan for a proposed way to stage the implementation in existing browsers and apps.

Here are some basic OHS highlights:

Internal Attributes of a Hyperdocument Make These Features Possible OHS Further Supports

Every object is uniquely addressible; IDs are assigned automatically, as well as by author

Every object is time- stamped with date, time, and author at the time it is created or modified

Structuring of objects is explicitly supported and encouraged

Applies to all document types incl. email, slide decks, video, source code, calendars, todo lists, etc.

Hyperlinking or jumping directly to any object, optionally specifying the desired view control

Flexible view control of objects, zooming in and out of structure, showing or hiding address IDs and timestamps, visualizations, filtered views include filtering by time-stamp data; view edit history of an object or structure as well as file

Transclusion of any object or chunk of structure from any file

True hyper-email: Prior email or any object in any prior email can be referenced with a hyperlink; a Reply cites prior msg by default rather than including its contents. All hyperlinks hold true for recipients, including those in attached hyperdocs

Fine-grained access control to the object level

Browsing and editing are merged, not separate

Hyperdocs submitted to a "Journal" library are assigned permalink and catalog entry; recipients notified by email and a link; catalogs updated automatically tracking versions, commentary, and subcollections

Signature encryption guarantees authentication

Shared window teleconferencing: each user joins conference using app of choice, with access to his/her repositories, free-for-all or moderated mode

SIRI-like verb-noun commands allow for extensible vocabulary/repertoire, variety of UI styles from point and click to high-performance, using menus, voice, command keys, macros; streamlines accessibility

The OHS baseline requirements are a result of 50 years of innovation and experimentation by Doug Engelbart and his team of researchers among a variety of user communities, including aerospace, software development, and non-profits. The purpose of the OHS initiative is to provide a common framework or standard for these features to evolve, in concert with advanced cooperative pilot usage. 1b

As an intermediate step toward OHS, we developed a research prototype demo system called HyperScope to demonstrate many of the precision browsing and addressability requirements in OHS. :About Open Hyper Tools which highlights opportunities for OHS-inspired open source extensions to existing tools like Wikipedia and blogs. See also About Augment/NLS for the earliest and most comprehensive prototype (minus the interoperability). 1c

Further Inquiry 2