Wikis As a Memex


Technopedia says a memex is a "conceptual data storage and retrieval system outlined by Vannevar Bush." Memex was created to help people gain access to information to help them better their lives. He described this system in his article "We May Think," which was printed in the Atlantic Monthly. The creator of memex realized that there was no easy way for this to be acheived. He thought that there was no way easy enough for people to find the specific information they were looking for. Memex wwas supposed to be the solution to this problem.

Memex was used as a inspiration for the hypertext used on the internet today. Memex was actually built but the plan for it was thought out. It had viewing screens, a keyboard, and storage much like a computer today. Obviously computers now are more advanced but it had some of the basic features. These machines could theoretically search for multiple things at once, link documents, and keep a record of popular searches.

Looking at wikis and how they share information, I would definitely say that it sounds familiar to the idea of a memex. Wikis record information and organize it, making it easy for people to access. This is what Vannevar Bush wanted and why he created the idea of a memex. So in a way I could see wiki as a memex. - AbbieEdman

The memex was unique for its time in that it not only allowed people to upload and/or download information, but it also allowed for editing of that information, which is the most essential part of a wiki. Memex is often looked at as the basis for the world wide web, but it could easily be looked at as the basis for wikis as well, providing the framework for a system which would allow for linking, editing, and sharing to one large central database. You could look at memex itself as the wiki as a whole, with the the links and filmstrips becoming the pages and hyperlinks within. Anyone either viewing, uploading, or editing would become a contributor in some way, shape, or form, with the work they completed being saved on filmstrips. When Vannevar Bush first came up with the idea for memex, the technology that he had available simply wasn't advanced enough for him to be able to fully realize the potential of his machine. But with much of the internet, especially wikis, being built off of the ideas that he laid out, it's entirely possible to make the assumption that wikis are the full realization of what he intended in the first place. -AidanAnderson
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