•Theodor Holm Nelson, 1937-
Software Designer, Usability Consultant
Designer, Generalist, Contrarian
"Poet, Philosopher and Rogue"Visiting Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute
Visiting Professor, University of Southampton
Founder, Project Xanadu (the first computer hypertext project, 1960)
T. Nelson curriculum vitae (seriously incomplete, intermittently updated.)MY LIFE AND WORK, VERY BRIEF
I am not a tekkie. The French Minister of Culture, Catherine Tasca, called me a "philosopher and poet" when she knighted me an Officier des Arts et Lettres. That is especially amusing because when first confronted with a form asking my occupation, I put down "poet, philosopher and rogue." (I was sixteen.)
Whether the World Wide Web was my idea is a matter of controversy; but no one questions that I coined the words "hypertext," "hypermedia," "micropayment" and "dildonics," among others.
Though nominally in the computer field-- I prefer to say "electronic literature"-- I have lived at odds with the technical community.
I am not a tekkie; I call myself a systems humanist. Tekkies have created the world in their image; I believe today's computer world is a result of tekkie misunderstandings of human life and human thought.
"War is too important to be left to the generals."-- Georges Clemenceau
In 1960 I had a vision of a world-wide system of electronic publishing, anarchic and populist, where anyone could publish anything and anyone could read it. (So far, sounds like the web.) But my approach is about literary depth-- including side-by-side intercomparison, annotation, and a unique copyright proposal. I now call this "deep electronic literature" instead of "hypertext," since people now think hypertext means the web.
With some wonderful companions, I have worked relentlessly for that vision for nearly fifty years, and do not intend to quit until the world has decent, serious, deep electronic literature.
"Everybody's waiting for me to die"But nobody will back me."
so they can say how much
they appreciated my work.-- Orson Welles