The semantic web in 1945

The war’s over. The physicists need something to do. Dr. Vannevar Bush has some ideas:

“The process of tying two items together is the important thing.
When the user is building a trail, he names it, inserts the name in his code book, and taps it out on his keyboard. Before him are the two items to be joined, projected onto adjacent viewing positions. At the bottom of each there are a number of blank code spaces, and a pointer is set to indicate one of these on each item. The user taps a single key, and the items are permanently joined. In each code space appears the code word….
Thereafter, at any time, when one of these items is in view, the other can be instantly recalled merely by tapping a button…. Moreover, when numerous items have been thus joined together to form a trail, they can be reviewed in turn. … It is exactly as though the physical items had been gathered together from widely separated sources and bound together to form a new book. It is more than this, for any item can be joined into numerous trails.”
–From the July 1945 Atlantic magazine, found by classmate Gordon Wilkinson, who blogs here.

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