It has been 61 years since the 1945 Memex article, and so much has changed since then that we might well wonder whether the article is still worth looking at. It certainly inspired some of the leading figures in information technology, but now it seems to be cited either for things it did not really say, or because everything it proposed has been pretty much accomplished, albeit with alternate technology. If we take another look at the Memex description, though, there are a few key ideas that can still be goals in terms of an easy-to-use personal collection that is a supplement to one’s own memory. Perhaps in today’s terms, the device would be a combination of the iPod design and a tablet computer. As such, it could function as a handy information pod, with certain Memex features, serving as an extended personal memory.
Article originally appeared in: “Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology”, V. 57(2006), n. 9, pp. 1233-1242. Reprinted with permission of the author and the publisher.