Literary Machines (1993)
by Ted Nelson
Theodor Holm Nelson: Literary Machines. The report on, and of, Project Xanadu concerning word processing, electronic publishing, hypertext, thinkertoys, tomorrow's intellectual revolution, and certain other topics including knowledge, education and freedom. Mindful Press, 1993. ISBN 0-89347-062-7.
First published 1981.
Dedicated to George Orwell and Doug Engelbart.
Quotation from James Burke (through computing to a better world). Final speech to the BBC-TV series The Day the Universe Changed. James Burke, historian, most known for his series Connections. His current project about interdisciplinary learning is the Knowledge Web www.k-web.org.
Themes: The commercial product Xanadu, the ideas about the new electronic publishing world. The Vision (Preface 1993): Access to all world's publishings (books and media) for viewing, linking and self-publishing links. Automatic Royalty System.
Quoted from the cover:
This book describes the legendary and daring PROJECT XANADU, an initiative toward an instantaneous electronic literature; the most audacious and specific plan for knowledge, freedom and a better world yet to come out of computerdom; the original (perhaps the ultimate) HYPERTEXT SYSTEM.
DO NOT CONFUSE IT WITH ANY OTHER COMPUTER BOOK.
The very last two paragraphs of the book (epilogue):
We bring banners. We have held to ideals created long ago, in different times and places, the very best ideals we could find. We have carried these banners unstained to this new place, we now plant them and hope to see them floating in the wind. But it is dark and quiet and lonely here, and not yet dawn.
Now it is for you the reader to examine this place and say where, if anywhere, you would rather be. We hope you share our sense of urgency and of history. The choices are fewer than you might have thought, and perhaps they need to be made quickly. Good luck to you, and to us all.
Proposal For A Universal Electronic Publishing System And Archive