Blog Category: Hypertext

Hypertext interaction

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The upcoming CHI 2009 conference will be the 20th consecutive CHI I have attended.  My first CHI was in 1990, where I discovered the field of Human-Computer interaction, a term I had not come across in my undergraduate education as an electrical engineer.

One of the most memorable experiences at CHI was a tutorial on “Hypertext” taught by Bob Glushko. The concept was fascinating, and Bob was a good teacher. He did, however, say one thing that struck me as a challenge. He talked about nodes, links, and anchors, and said that to build hypertext systems, you needed a “graphics display and a mouse.” At the time, I was working at UCLA in the Office of Academic Computing (OAC) as a consultant and programmer. UCLA was an IBM shop, and we had a bunch of 24×80 green-on-black IBM 3178 (and equivalent) terminals. No mouse, no windows, no graphics. But we had something called ISPF, which allowed the program to read the cursor location on the screen, and VSAM with which I built a crude inverted index of our local online help.

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