Mockup of the Xanadu project in 1972

Project Xanadu was the first hypertext project, founded in 1960 by Ted Nelson. Administrators of Project Xanadu have declared it an improvement over the World Wide Web, with the mission statement: โ€œTodayโ€™s popular software simulates paper. The World Wide Web (another imitation of paper) trivialises our original hypertext model with one-way ever-breaking links and no management of version or contents.โ€


Boxes and lines drawing of Xanadu's concept


Visibly Connected Pages and Documents for a New Kind of Writing

Conventional electronic documents were designed in the 1970s by well-funded conventional thinkers at Xerox PARC, who asked, โ€œHow can we imitate paper?โ€ The result is todayโ€™s electronic documentโ€“ Microsoft Word format and the printout format PDF. They imitate paper and emphasize appearance and fonts.

But much earlier, in 1960, the Xanadu project started with a completely different idea: since interactive screens are coming (who else knew?), we asked a different question: How can we IMPROVE on paper?

We foresaw a new screen literature of parallel, interconnected documents.


Here are all the notes in this garden, along with their links, visualized as a graph.