Building the Memex

The original idea for hypertextuality, the Memex, was based on user-created links being created between different pieces of content. These links form a trail for the reader to follow, making connections between ideas and leading to new conclusions.

Every website that expands past a single page builds these trails for their readers. However, it is arrogant to assume that trails of knowledge should only be created by the media site itself. Assuming that eventually sites will open up this functionality to their readers, what is the best way to accomplish this?

  • User-stored - This method involves each reader to keep track of their own trails, either through a third party website or desktop application. Conceivably these links could be published and shared between users, however auto-discovery of connections would be difficult.
  • Website-stored - Readers would be able to create links between disjointed items on a single website, and possibly even registering links to outside sites. Discovery and display of connections could be handled nicely on each site, unfortunately information smaller sites would be at a disadvantage.
  • Standards-based - Each site would be responsible for handling display and registration of links, however the coding on the page would be standardized to allow for auto-discovery by search engines and other applications.