If you come across any other useful links, don't hesitate to
contact the author -- David Jones
Entries added in the last week are indicated by NEW and those within the last
month by RECENT.
Note: Links shown in square brackets such as [acm] are to
commercial sites that require either membership or for the
purchase of products.
XOC - Xanadu Operating Company
Project Xanadu People
- Ted Nelson - and a mirror of his old pages can be found
- Roger Gregory
- Long time Nelson collaborator, and member of Udanax-Green and
Gold implementation team.
- Mark S. Miller - Member
of Udanax-Green and Gold implementation team.
- Chip Morningstar -
Management during early years of XOC.
- Ravi Pandya - Member
of Udanax-Gold implementation team.
Hibbert - Manager of Software Development XOC.
- Mark Stiegler
- Project management during AutoDesk days.
- Jonathan S. Shapiro
- CEO of XOC.
Jellinghaus - Member of Udanax-Gold implementation team.
Focused, I believe, on client UI applications.
- Ka-Ping Yee - Created the
Pyxi Python Front-End that comes with Udanax-Green.
- K. Eric Drexler - Invented the Ent data structure at the
heart of Udanax-Gold and wrote a number of interesting articles on
the use of hypertext systems.
- John Walker - Founder
of AutoDesk that sponsored XOC work from 1988 - 1992.
Ted Nelson is the originator of the Xanadu project that has had a
huge impact on the Abora project.
Note that JFax pages are simply multi-page TIFF files which should
be readable by most graphics packages.
- Computer Lib/Dream Machines - Ted Nelson 1974 - "You can
and must understand computers NOW", "New freedoms through computer
screens - a minority report". [amazon]
- The Home Computer Revolution - Ted Nelson 1978 - ???. [amazon]
Machines - Ted Nelson 1981+ - "This book describes the
legendary and daring PROJECT XANADU, an initiative toward an
instantaneous electronic literature; the most audacious and
specific plan for knowledge, freedom and a better world yet to
come out of computerdom; the original (perhaps the ultimate)
HYPERTEXT SYSTEM." [eastgate|amazon]
Future of Information - Ted Nelson 1997 - "Ideas,
Connections and the Gods of Electronic Literature." Any
references to the published version?
Enough - Ted Nelson ???? - Fragments of Ted Nelson
autobiography. This is incomplete, was it completed?
Ted Nelson > Papers, articles and patents
- Complex information processing: a file structure for the
complex, the changing and the indeterminate - Ted Nelson 1965 -
"The kinds of file structures required if we are to use the
computer for personal files and as an adjunct to creativity are
wholly different in character from those customary in business and
scientific data processing. They need to provide the capacity for
intricate and idiosyncratic arrangements, total modifiability,
undecided alternatives, and thorough internal documentation. I
want to explain how some ideas developed and what they are. The
original problem was to specify a computer system for personal
information retrieval and documentation, able to do some rather
complicated things in clear and simple ways. In this paper I will
explain the original problem. Then I will explain why the problem
is not simple, and why the solution (a file structure) must yet be
very simple. The file structure suggested here is the Evolutionary
List File, to be built of zippered lists. A number of uses will be
suggested for such a file, to show the breadth of its potential
usefulness. Finally, I want to explain the philosophical
implications of this approach for information retrieval and data
structure in a changing world. " [acm]
- The heart of connection: hypermedia unified by transclusion -
Ted Nelson 1995 [acm]
- Crush and crash: logic of a terrible tomorrow - Ted Nelson
1997 - "The future used to be silver, as someone has said.
there would be silver rocketships and silver cities on the moon
and silver robots in silver laboratories. Now we see the earth
itself is the laboratory, and humans, not robots, are engaged in
two great experiments. The effective purpose of these experiments
is apparently to see what will destroy us first." [acm]
Patent 6,058,381: Many-to-many payments system for network content
materials - Ted Nelson 1997 - "A payment method (100)
suitable for network (10) transactions in merchandise (12) between
purchasers (14) and vendors (18), employing the services of
guarantors (16) which issue vouchers (20) for payment. The vendors
(18) offer the merchandise (12) on the network (10) as URLs (50),
which optionally may include a URL address (52) separated from a
URL request (56). The URL (50) or the URL address (52) initially
includes the network (10) address of the guarantor (16), and the
URL (50) or the URL request (56) specifies particular merchandise
(12). By selecting the URL (50) the purchaser (14) is initially
taken to the guarantor (16), where the voucher (20) is placed into
the URL (50) or the URL request (56) and the network (10) address
of the vendor (18) is placed into the URL (50) or the URL address
(52). The purchaser (14) is then redirected to the vendor (18),
where the voucher (20) is accepted as payment before the vendor
(18) releases the merchandise (12) for communication over the
network (10) to the purchaser (14). The guarantor (16) may
optionally also query a database (28) to initially obtain, verify,
or substitute an address of a vendor (18) on the network (10)
before reformatting the URL (50)."
- The unfinished revolution and Xanadu - Ted Nelson 1998 [acm]
- Xanalogical structure, needed now more than ever: parallel
documents, deep links to content, deep versioning, and deep re-use
- Ted Nelson 1999 - "Project Xanadu, the original hypertext
project, is often misunderstood as an attempt to create the World
Wide Web. It has always been much more ambitious, proposing an
entire form of literature where links do not break as versions
change; where documents may be closely compared side by side and
closely annotated; where it is possible to see the origins of
every quotation; and in which there is a valid copyright system --
a literary, legal and business arrangement -- for frictionless,
non-negotiated quotation at any time and in any amount. The Web
trivialized this original Xanadu model, vastly but incorrectly
simplifying these problems to a world of fragile ever-breaking
oneway links, with no recognition of change or copyright, and no
support for multiple versions or principled re-use. Fonts and
glitz, rather than content connective structure, prevail." [acm]
our hyper-media really should go! - Ted Nelson 2000 -
transcript from Engelbart's Colloquium.
- Deeper Cosmology,
Deeper Documents - Ted Nelson 2001 - Brief for Hypertext 2001
presentation on ZigZag.
Patent 6,262,736: Interactive connection, viewing, and maneuvering
system for complex data - Ted Nelson 2001 - "The present
invention is a hyperspace (10) constructed of cells (12) having
paired connectors (14) that define dimensions (16). Complex
tissues (78) of the cells (12) in linear and cyclical ranks (32)
can be navigated and manipulated by use of a stepper (84) and
various view rasters (92). The types of cells (12) may include
text cells (174), audio cells (172), video cells, and executable
cells (118). By the use of clone cells (68) and a clone dimension
(74), the cells (12) may be duplicated or referenced by
Xanadu History > Open-Sourcing of Green & Gold in 1999
Xanadu History > The Curse of Xanadu Wired Article
Curse of Xanadu - Gary Wolf 1995 - "It was the most radical
computer dream of the hacker era. Ted Nelson's Xanadu project was
supposed to be the universal, democratic hypertext library that
would help human life evolve into an entirely new form. Instead,
it sucked Nelson and his intrepid band of true believers into what
became the longest-running vaporware project in the history of
computing - a 30-year saga of rabid prototyping and heart-slashing
despair. The amazing epic tragedy."
- Errors in "The Curse of
Xanadu" - Ted Nelson 1995 - Teds response to the article.
3.09: Rants & Raves - Various 1995 - Mail regarding
article in following Wired edition.
Curse of Xanadu: another view - Rob Jellinghaus 1995 -
Response to being quoted in the article.
HyperText Man - Dave Winer 1995 - Reaction to article and
memory of Ted.
Copyright and legal issues
Xanalogical Uses and Scenarios
Publishing and the Evolution of Knowledge - K. Eric Drexler
1986 - "Media affect the evolution of knowledge in society. A
suitable hypertext publishing medium can speed the evolution of
knowledge by aiding the expression, transmission, and evaluation
of ideas. If one aims, not to compete with the popular press, but
to supplement journals and conferences, then the problems of
hypertext publishing seem soluble in the near term. The direct
benefits of using a hypertext publishing medium should bring
emergent benefits, helping to form intellectual communities, to
build consensus, and to extend the range and efficiency of
intellectual effort. These benefits seem numerous, deep, and
substantial, but are hard to quantify. Nonetheless, rough
estimates of benefits suggest that development of an adequate
hypertext publishing medium should be regarded as a goal of
- Xanadu: A
Scenario - Mark Stiegler 1989 - the possibilities of fine
grained typed links.
Open Society and its Media - Mark Miller & others 1992 -
"Electronic media present tremendous opportunities for
improving the nature of society. I will first talk about how
discourse affects society, and how changes in media may improve
societal discourse. Then I will describe the Xanadu[l] system, and
how it was built to achieve these goals."
The Conversation of the Digital Text - Avon Huxor 1994 -
"One persistent idea in science fiction has been that of an
enormous computer library containing all the books ever produced
in digital form. It would be a contemporary Library of Alexandria,
and one that being distributed across the world's computers, could
not be so easily destroyed in one act of cultural vandalism."
Xanadu for Lawyers - or Merely a Product Looking for Something to
do? - Edmond John Dillon 1995.
Xanalogical Demos and Applications
So much for all the talk. What can you download today to play with, or what web services out there provide an interesting stab at a xanalogical system?
- Udanax Green
- XOC 1988, 1999 - C server with Python front end.
- Cosmic Book - Ian
Heath & Ted Nelson 2001 - Windows application providing
read-only access to a set of text that supports linking between
sections of text using visible links between windows.
- Gzz - Hyperstructure
Group at the university of Jyvskyl 2001+ - Java implementation
Dolphin Demo - David Jones 2002 - Windows executable written
in Dolphin Smalltalk with text editor, multiple editions,
comparison, transclusion, fine grained typed links.
- Token Word -
Jason Rohrer 2002 - Perl web site supporting text documents,
transclusion, references, users and payment scheme.
General Xanalogical and Related Links
- Seems to be some material from a course.
- Vision &
Reality of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces - Matthias
Muller-Prove - thesis with a number of sections on Xanadu, Nelson
and authors communication with Nelson.
- Make Finding
Web Criticism Easy - Robin Hanson 1996 - "The World Wide
Web lets you follow links forward easily, but following them
backwards is much harder. Links which could be nearly as easily
followed backwards as forwards were a central feature of early
"hypertext" visions, such as Xanadu, which I worked with for a
- Toward Hypertext
Publishing: Issues and Choices In Database Design - Robin
Hanson 1987 - "Hypertext publishing, the integration of a
large body (perhaps billions) of public writings into a unified
hypertext environment, will require the simultaneous solution of
problems involving very wide database distribution, royalties,
freedom of speech, and privacy. This paper describes these
problems and presents, for criticism and discussion, an abstract
design which seems to solve many of them. This design, called
LinkText, is presented both as a specification and as design
approaches grouped around various levels of electronic
Afternoon with Mark Pesce: The Uncut Version - brief mention
in passing of Xanadu.
and Critical Discussion - Sami Maatta - Web page summary of
Xanalogical features and possible implementations.
- XaS /
Xanalogical Artists Society - Japanese group interested in the
possibilities of an Xanalogical system. Perhaps students of Teds?
Group seems to currently be dormant.
Network of Knowledge - K. Eric Drexler 1986 - Chapter 14 of
Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology.
- Hyperworlds - Web
Replacement Projects - Jack Seay - website with a focus on
Xanadu like systems for improving upon the current web. Includes a
number of articles by Jack.
- Tools for
Thought: Xanadu, Network Culture, and Beyond - Howard
Rheingold 1985 - Chapter Fourteen from Tools For Thought.
"'Computer was a bad name for it. It might just as well have
been called an Oogabooga Box. That way, at least, we could get the
fear out in the open and laugh at it.' Ted Nelson is one of the
most outrageous and probably the funniest of the infonauts. Of
pronouncements like the one quoted above, he likes to say, " If
that sounds wild, it means you understand it" -- a statement that
could apply to his life as well as his ideas. He's been called "a
tin-pot Da Vinci," and "a weirdo who thinks he's a titan" -- and
that's how he describes himself. Opinion in the computer community
is mixed when it comes to the question of whether Nelson will ever
amount to anything besides a gadfly, pamphleteer, and tinkerer. He
seems to have either inspired or irritated most of the key figures
in contemporary computing -- academic, commercial, or
- Jamie Zawinski 1998 - thoughts on the Ted Nelson Intertwingle
concept when applied to email. "'Intertwingularity is not
generally acknowledged -- people keep pretending they can make
things deeply hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they
can't. Everything is deeply intertwingled.' - Ted Nelson. In the
following, I outline a potential project to make it easier to deal
with a massive volume of personal messages: excavating,
traversing, relating, reporting, annotating. I call this
hypothetical program 'Intertwingle'."
projects (1998?-1997) - Bob Bickford.
editor specification for DKR knowledge management system - Rod
- Purely Functional Data Structures, Chris Okasaki [amazon]
- Implementation strategies for persistence data structures.
- ZigZag - ZigZag from
- Gzz - Java version of
- Freenet-like GUIDs
for implementing xanalogical hypertext - Lukka &
Fallenstein 2002 - "We discuss the use of Freenet-like content
hash GUIDs as a primitive for implementing the Xanadu model in a
peer-to-peer framework. Our current prototype is able to display
the implicit connection (transclusion) between two different
references to the same permanent ID. We discuss the next layers
required in the implementation of the Xanadu model on a world-wide
- The Long Now Foundation
- "The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996** to
develop Clock and "Library" projects as well as to become the seed
of a very long term cultural institution." See the Library
- Dark Ages II: When the Digital Data Die [amazon]