A fictional device from the essay As We May Think, written in 1945 by Vannevar Bush, which both stores knowledge (books, notes, annotations, conversations) and connections between them allowing someone to follow trails of associated knowledge. A memex is an example of a tools for networked thought that builds on top of existing knowledge.
- Zettelkasten a similar system built around handwritten notes linked together
- Knowledge work should be accretive
Links to this note
The memex device imagined a lattice of information that grows and can be built on top of incrementally. The internet and hypertext are that—nearly all the world’s information is now captured in the format of the web. However, it’s disjointed which makes it largely inaccessible.
Hyperlinks are a reliable way of connecting content together. However, they are not a solid foundation for distributed knowledge that can be added to over time. Without the properties of transclusion, it’s not possible to build on top of it.