straight up

While few recognized this possibility at the time, it inspired a series of influential theoretical writings by the rogue philosopher Ted Nelson. Working outside of the academic and commercial establishments, following his own strongly held convictions, Nelson devised an elaborate system for the sharing of information across computer networks. Called Xanadu, this system would maximize a computer's creative potential. Central to Nelson's approach was the "hyperlink," a term he coined in 1963, inspired by Bush's notion of the Memex's associative trails. Hyperlinks, he proposed, could connect discrete texts in non-linear sequences. Using hyperlinks, Nelson realized, writers could create "hypertexts," which he described as "non-sequential writing" that let the reader make decisions about how the text could be read in other than linear fashion. As he observed in his landmark book from 1974, Computer Lib/Dream Machines, "the structures of ideas are not sequential." With hypertext, and its multimedia counterpart, "hypermedia," writers and artists could create works that encouraged the user to leap from one idea to the next in a series of provocative juxtapositions that presented alternatives to conventional hierarchies.