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Ted Nelson

From Academic Kids

Theodor Holm Nelson (born 1937) invented the term "hypertext" in 1965, and is a pioneer of information technology. He also coined the words transclusion and intertwingularity. The main thrust of his work has been to make computers easily accessible to ordinary people. His motto is:

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

Nelson is currently a visiting professor at Oxford University, and a philosopher who works in the fields of information, computers, and human-machine interfaces. He founded Project Xanadu in 1960 with the goal of creating such a system on a computer network, further documented in his 1974 book Computer Lib / Dream Machines and the 1981 Literary Machines. Much of his adult life has been devoted to working on Xanadu and advocating it.

The Xanadu project itself failed to take off, for a variety of reasons which are disputed. The American journalist Gary Wolf published an unflattering history of Nelson and Xanadu in the June, 1995 issue of Wired magazine. Nelson expressed his disgust on his Web site and threatened to sue "Gory Jackal."

Some aspects of its vision are in the process of being fulfilled by Tim Berners-Lee's invention of the World Wide Web; the Web owes much of its inspiration to Xanadu.

Nelson dislikes the World Wide Web, XML and all embedded markup, and regards Berners-Lee's work as a gross over-simplification of his own work.

"HTML is precisely what we were trying to PREVENT-- ever-breaking links, links going outward only, quotes you can't follow to their origins, no version management, no rights management."
-- Ted Nelson (Ted Nelson one-liners  (http://xanadu.com.au/ted/TN/WRITINGS/TCOMPARADIGM/tedCompOneLiners.html))

He is currently working on a new information structure, ZigZag, information about which can be found off the Xanadu project home page, which also contains two versions of the Xanadu code.

In 2001 he was knighted by France as "Officier des Arts et Lettres". In 2004 he was appointed as a Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, and associated with the Oxford Internet Institute - where he is currently conducting his research.

He is the son of the Academy Award-winning actress Celeste Holm, and Emmy Award-winning director Ralph Nelson. His ethnicity is mostly (though not completely) Norwegian-American.

He earned a Bachelor's degree in philosophy from Swarthmore College in 1959, a Master's degree in sociology from Harvard University in 1963 and a Doctorate in Environmental Information from Keio University in 2002. In 1998 he was awarded the Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award.


Bibliography

  • Life, Love, College, etc. (1959)
  • Computer Lib/Dream Machines (1974)
  • The Home Computer Revolution (1977)
  • Literary Machines (1981, 1993)
  • The Future of Information (1997)

External links

fr:Ted Nelson pl:Ted Nelson pt:Theodor Nelson

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