Memex is a conceptual data storage and retrieval system outlined by Vannevar Bush. Memex was intended to help people enhance their lives by providing access to the massive amount of knowledge already recorded. Bush realized that there was no easy way to navigate through this information and find all the documents or passages specific to one’s reasons for searching. Memex was his solution to this problem.
Memex is an important stepping stone in the creation of the Internet because it served as an inspiration to Ted Nelson, Douglas Engelbart and many of the others who contributed to the hypertext used on the World Wide Web today.
Memex was never built, but the theoretical machine had viewing screens, a keyboard, selectors for retrieval, and microfilm storage to hold original works and any additions made by the user. Users could then research multiple works at once, link pertinent points across documents, and even store these associative trails with others looking into the same subjects.