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In the sixties Doug Engelbart prototyped many of the features of modern systems. These include the mouse, "hypermedia," interactive networks and linking. His ideas went on to shape the products at Xerox Parc which in turn influenced Apple to develop the Macintosh, whose Graphical User Interface (GUI) roughly defines the "front end" of the computer we see today.

However the more important elements are in the "backend," the way we conceive and organize the information we use. These have evolved independently, and while many systems are sophisticated with extensive powers, the reality is:

  • the tools most people use most of the time are limited by the standards of 30 years ago.

  • those who employ more powerful approaches are often in complete isolation from each other, and not only do their tools not interact, they are unaware of the existence of other approaches.

The purpose of this group is to "data mine" Engelbart documents, to evaluate them, to use them to examine other approaches and to suggest useful extensions of existing systems.

In browsing Engelbart references on line, an introduction is available at:


I have come to the opinion that he has literally hundreds of ideas worthy of examination. These range from the specific qualities of links to the nature of "augmentation" and the focuses and "paradigms" of the groups (us) "coevolving" with our machines.

By learning bits of Engelbart's vocabulary and his conceptions of how these pieces fit together we have "common places:"


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