Ted Nelson

What Does Ted Nelson Mean?

Ted Nelson is one of the theoretical pioneers of the world wide web who is best known for inventing the concept of hypertext and hypermedia in the 1960s. As one of the early theorists on how a networked world would work, Nelson proposed a system where copying and linking any text excerpt, image or form was possible. However, in Nelson’s system, the links were permanent, allowing users to follow the trail to the original, and even compare versions of that original side by side. Users could also insert their own links and comments.

Advertisements

Techopedia Explains Ted Nelson

Nelson was not the first to demonstrate the concept of hypertext. Douglas Engelbart provided the proof of concept independently from Nelson’s work. Nelson began work on a hypertext system that would operate using micropayments to the authors when anyone copied a part of their work for use somewhere else. This ambitious project was called Project Xanadu. The project rambled on for decades, changing hands, gaining funding and losing funding, when Tim Berners-Lee created the world wide web and took away the market Xanadu was attempting to create. Xanadu is still being developed, but whether it will yield a superior web or continue to be an interesting “what if” side note remains to be seen.

Advertisements

Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…