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in case you have ever wondered when and how it all began…


All this is conventional, except for the projection forward of present-day mechanisms and gadgetry. It affords an immediate step, however, to associative indexing, the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another. This is the essential feature of the memex. The process of tying two items together is the important thing.
– Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think” (Atlantic Monthly, 1945)


Let me introduce the word hypertext to mean a body of written or pictorial material interconnected in such a complex way that it could not conveniently be presented or represented on paper. It may contain summaries, or maps of its contents and their interrelations; it may contain annotations, additions and footnotes from scholars who have examined it. Let me suggest that such an object and system, properly designed and administered, could have great potential for education, increasing the student’s range of choices, his sense of freedom, his motivation, and his intellectual grasp. Such a system could grow indefinitely, gradually including more and more of the world’s written knowledge.
– T. H. Nelson, “A File Structure for The Complex, The Changing and the Indeterminate” (20th national conference of the ACM, 1965)


The TCP is responsible for regulating the flow of internetwork packets to and from the processes it serves, as a way of preventing its host from becoming saturated or overloaded with traffic. The TCP is also responsible for retransmitting unacknowledged packets, and for detecting duplicates. A consequence of this error detection/retransmission scheme is that the order of letters received on a given connection is also maintained…
– Vinton Cerf, Request for Comments #675 (1974)

TCP is based on concepts first described by Cerf and Kahn
Request for Comments #793 (1981)


This document specifies the DoD Standard Internet Protocol. This document is based on six earlier editions of the ARPA Internet Protocol Specification, and the present text draws heavily from them. There have been many contributors to this work both in terms of concepts and in terms of text. This edition revises aspects of addressing, error handling, option codes, and the security, precedence, compartments, and handling restriction features of the internet protocol.
– Jon Postel, Editor, Request for Comments #791 (DARPA, 1981)


One of the things computers have not done for an organization is to be able to store random associations between disparate things, although this is something the brain has always done relatively well. In 1980 I played with programs to store information with random links, and in 1989, while working at the European Particle Physics Laboratory, I proposed that a global hypertext space be created in which any network-accessible information could be refered to by a single “Universal Document Identifier”. Given the go-ahead to experiment by my boss, Mike Sendall, I wrote in 1990 a program called “WorldWideWeb”, a point and click hypertext editor which ran on the “NeXT” machine. This, together with the first Web server, I released to the High Energy Physics community at first, and to the hypertext and NeXT communities in the summer of 1991. Also available was a “line mode” browser by student Nicola Pellow, which could be run on almost any computer. The specifications of UDIs (now URIs), HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) published on the first server in order to promote wide adoption and discussion.
– Sir Tim Berners-Lee, “The World Wide Web: A very short personal history

although “the web” has no one physical container, the first web server, Tim’s NeXT machine, is quite tangible:

and here’s the first web client:

incidentally, Ted Nelson considers the web to be a largely inadequate realization of hypertext/hypermedia:

The Web is the minimal concession to hypertext that a sequence-and-hierarchy chauvinist could possibly make.

this is not actually surprising, as he has been working on something far more ambitious since the early 1960’s.