Picture of Ted NelsonTed Nelson

Inventor of hypertext


Ted is a pioneer of information technology. In 1963, he invented the term "hypertext", which was published in 1965. He also coined the words hypermedia, transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity and teledildonics. The main thrust of his work has been to make computers easily accessible to ordinary people. His motto is:


A user interface should be so simple that a beginner in an emergency can understand it within ten seconds.


Ted is currently a visiting professor at Oxford University, and a philosopher who works in the fields of information, computers, and human-machine interfaces. He founded Project Xanadu in 1960 with the goal of creating such a system on a computer network, further documented in his 1974 book Computer Lib / Dream Machines and the 1981 Literary Machines. Much of his adult life has been devoted to working on Xanadu and advocating it.


Some aspects of Xanadu's vision are in the process of being fulfilled by Tim Berners-Lee's invention of the World Wide Web; the Web owes much of its inspiration to Xanadu.


In 2001, Ted was knighted by France as "Officier des Arts et Lettres". In 2004, he was appointed a Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, and associated with the Oxford Internet Institute - where he is currently conducting his research.


Ted earned a Bachelor's degree in philosophy from Swarthmore College in 1959, a Master's degree in sociology from Harvard University in 1963, and a Doctorate in Environmental Information from Keio University in 2002. In 1998, he was awarded the Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award.


Keynote: Content Management by Redefining the Document

Wednesday, November 8th, 13.00


Content Management is not just a corporate issue. Authors and families, as well as companies small and immense, have the same problem on one scale or another. Here is the problem: The curation and presentation of media, even as the media change. Whether the media are family pictures and family trees, or fleets of brochures and web pages, they need to be saved, shown and repeatedly edited. And not only long-term media assets, but day-by-day communications and presentations and changes, may need to be tracked and managed.


The issue is overview and control of change and presentation. What is used where? What needs to be re-used? What needs to be revised?


The usual content management approach is to work with files and documents as given, and glue them together with various forms of connective structure, like databases. But people tend not to realize how much of this is a workaround to get past existing conventions - conventions of how electronic documents, files and directories have been defined.


When the Xanadu project was founded in 1960, there was no field called Content Management, and we were not notified when the field of Content Management began. But it seems we were doing very much the same thing, with another strategy. We have worked around the existing conventions of documents, files and directories.


Our approach is to redefine the document and where its contents are allowed to be: We manage the virtual movement of its content. We do this by transclusion: The management of the same content appearing in more than one place. By revising and reorganising content in place, we can leave the document assets where they are. The changes in their virtual manifestations become more like spring breezes than heavy engineering.






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2013 - this year!

Read more about our upcoming November conference for web and intranet professionals
- J. Boye Aarhus 13

Webcast with Ted Nelson

View Ted discussing the politics of Internet Software in this seminar from the Oxford Internet Institute:


"The Politics Of Internet Software 'Geeks Bearing Gifts'"

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