I am researching collaboration software as background for an upcoming talk I'll be giving at SES Standards Engineering Society, in Boston. During the course of researching synchronous and asynchronous document editing software, I found an interesting reference to a 1945 article in Atlantic Monthly describing a microfilm library, the memex, and you will have to read this yourself to understand that collaborative tools, the concept of hypertext itself, social bookmarking and much more date back to this very interesting article by Vannear Bush, As We May Think.
In part Bush was reacting to the destructive application of science in creating weapons and he conceived of a machine that would compress a whole library into a piece of furniture, allow people to create a new kind of encyclopedia and unlock knowledge. He advocates that scientists should devote their post world war efforts to the peaceful application of technology.
I particularly like this quote from Bush and I plan to use it in my upcoming talk and in my daily work advocating the use of new technology. "The summation of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships."
I'll end here with a recommendation - please stop what you are doing and take a few minutes to read Vannear Bush, As We May Think.
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