Re: [unrev-II] WebNav -- a dynamic Java applet for navigating the Memex and Beyond site

From: Jack Park (
Date: Wed May 24 2000 - 16:29:45 PDT

  • Next message: Gil Regev: "RE: [unrev-II] WebNav -- a dynamic Java applet for navigating the Memex and Beyond site"

    Back up to memex itself and you get a really fabulous exhibit of how a DKR should NOT be built. There, you have references to conferences. Click on a conference and you get a list of authors. Pick one and you get another web page with a list of papers. Pick a paper and you get an abstract. You just bottomed out. There is absolutely NO way to jump outside the memex site. It's utterly useless as a DKR. The abstract should at least have lead to the author's home page or to the paper itself, but no, it stops there.

    But then, there was a link that jumped outside (not really) to a Bush symposium, where I grabbed the following quotes:
        One of the phrases that he [Engelbart] used that I particularly
        liked was 'thought vectors in concept space'. I'm not sure I
        understand what he meant, but what I think is that you are
        creating an extension of the kinds of spaces that you think in
        terms of inside of your head. So, you are creating an
        augmentation of the ways of thinking, the ways of representing,
        the ways of associating that was now going to be extended
        in a way somewhat analogous to the way writing has extended
        us but somewhat more like the way we actually think.

    Engelbart describes it as a method: externalize your thoughts in the concept structures that
        are meaningful outside; moving around flexibly, manipulating
        them and viewing them. It's a new way to operate on a new
        kind of externalized medium.
    Which brings me back to my own experience with The Scholar's Companion. It didn't take long to realize that users of that program were given an opportunity to hold concepts that they were trying to describe to the program up in the air, rotate them, look at them from another view, and suddenly mumble "aha", or "I'll be damned" or other phrase as they got an inspiration from the externalized view. Doug, it seems, hit the nail on the head years before I stumbled onto it in my own way.

    This appears to be some ancient stuff. WebNav as an applet does not appear to exist.
    From: John J. Deneen

      The WebNav java applet will be a graphical navigator that guides the user as they follow trails through the Memex and Beyond site. The nodes point to HTML pages, and as the user clicks on a node, a separate browser window appears with the selected page. Additionally, the chosen pages are parsed, and the new "child" nodes appear around the new center.
      Nodes will be colored by contextual meaning -- projects, people, etc.


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