Ted Nelson

related topics
{work, book, publish}
{system, computer, user}
{theory, work, human}
{film, series, show}
{son, year, death}
{company, market, business}
{mi², represent, 1st}
{math, number, function}
{day, year, event}

Theodor Holm Nelson (born 1937) is an American sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology. He coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1963 and published it in 1965. He also is credited with first use of the words transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity and teledildonics. 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.

Ted Nelson promotes four maxims: "most people are fools, most authority is malignant, God does not exist, and everything is wrong". [1]



Nelson founded Project Xanadu in 1960 with the goal of creating a computer network with a simple user interface. The effort is 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 flourish, for a variety of reasons which are disputed. Journalist Gary Wolf published an unflattering history, "The Curse of Xanadu", on Nelson and his project in the June 1995 issue of Wired calling it "the longest-running vaporware project in the history of computing". Nelson expressed his disgust on his website,[2] referring to Wolf as a "Gory Jackal", and threatened to sue him. He also outlined his objections in a letter to Wired,[3] and released a detailed rebuttal of the article.[4]

Nelson claims some aspects of his vision are in the process of being fulfilled by Tim Berners-Lee's invention of the World Wide Web, but he dislikes the World Wide Web, XML and all embedded markup - regarding Berners-Lee's work as a gross over-simplification of his original vision:

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 )

Full article ▸

related documents
Steve Mann
Jargon File
Peter Naur
John Gilmore (activist)
Bliss bibliographic classification
Seymour Papert
Warren Sturgis McCulloch
Fifth Estate (periodical)
Open publishing
Wikipedia:Make omissions explicit
Enciclopedia Libre Universal en Español
Freedom (newspaper)
Stephen Wolfram
Wikipedia:Wikipedia NEWS/June 13 16 2001
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
Abdul Kalam
Bruce Schneier
2600: The Hacker Quarterly
Rewrite man
Open content
The Register
Bradford's law
Heinz von Foerster
Green Anarchist
Ivan Sutherland