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As we may think
1945. Bush, Vannevar (1890-1974). As we may think. In The Atlantic Monthly 176, no. 1 (July 1945): 101-8. 262 x 191 mm. Whole volume, bound in blue buckram. Very good. First Edition. Bush's article describes his proposed "Memex" system for organizing, storing, retrieving, and linking information. Inspired by microfilm technology-which in 1945 represented the most advanced means of storing large amounts of information-Bush conceived of the Memex as consisting of a desk equipped with projection screens, buttons and levers, a keyboard, and a storage system designed to provide instant access to microfilmed books, periodicals, documents, photographs, etc. The Memex system would allow pieces of data to be linked into permanent "information trails" dictated by the individual user's needs, which could be called up again and modified at any future date. The Memex thus represented (to Bush's mind) a mechanical analog of the associative faculty of the human brain, one whose function was to support and extend the powers of human memory and association (Nyce and Kahn 1991, 57).In his effort to design a machine that would serve as an analogy to the human memory, Bush's thoughts paralleled those of John von Neumann, who set out the theory of the stored-program computer at almost exactly the same time. Even though both men were thinking and writing about quite different subjects, each was attempting to imagine mechanical ways of processing information that were analogous to the human brain. Von Neumann attempted to model the stored-program computer after an abstract model of the way the brain's information-processing methods were then theoretically understood. He expressed this attempt in his privately circulated First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC (1945), incorporating his own ideas and those of the Moore School group working on EDVAC. Unlike von Neumann's seminal report, Bush's general exposition of the Memex concept, emphasizing the individual relationship between user and machine, had little or no influence when it was originally published. Only after the development of the personal computer and hyperlinks on the World Wide Web was Bush's paper resurrected as a remarkably early expression of ideas that were eventually realized in a different way on the Internet. OOC 519. Minsky 1963, 483.
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Last Found On: 2014-12-15           Check availability:      Biblio    


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