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4. Intertwingled

Chapter 4. Intertwingled

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. —Theodor Holm Nelson

As a sociology student at Harvard in the early 1960s, Ted Nelson enrolled in a computer course for the humanities that changed his life. For his term project, he tried to develop a text-handling system that would enable writers to edit and compare their work easily. Considering he was coding on a mainframe in Assembler language before word processing had been invented, it’s no surprise his attempt fell short. Despite this early setback, Ted was captivated by the potential of nonsequential text to transform how we organize and share ideas. His pioneering work on “hypertext” and “hypermedia” laid an intellectual foundation for the World Wide Web, and his views on “intertwingularity " will haunt the house of ubicomp for many years to come.


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