The beginning and the end of this chronology are equally obscure and indeterminate. The beginning is obscure because the need establishes connections between the documents, and the records of humanity began with the use of written records: hypertext is text after all, and with written texts appeared readers, who interpreted the various texts they read, connected them, stored them in their memory or even added to them. The end of the process is similarly obscure because it blends into the everyday reality of the present since with the emergence of multimedia and the World Wide Web our world assumed the form of hypermedia. The increasing penetration of the World Wide Web, which is the multimedia portion of the Internet, the expansion of access the broadening of data transmission channels and the appearance of high-capacity search engines have created the opportunity to totally expand the hypertext concept. The hypermedia environment is created through the cross-referential connections of not only texts but also audio recordings, still and motion images and virtually all forms of generated information.
Ca. 220 AD Origen compiled the Hexapla, a critical edition of six translations of the Old Testament, in which there were six columns on one page with the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Greek transcript and the four most important Greek translations. The 50-volume work survived in fragments, similarly to the scholia, i.e. Origen’s comments added to the most difficult sections of the Bible. (Such interpretations were first added to the works of classical poets and tragedians by the grammarians of Alexandria.)
Ca. 360 AD St Athanasius regularly issued circular letters at Easter, which were then translated. His letter 39 is especially important for the history of the canon of the Holy Scripture, since it is in this text that he lists all the books of the Old Testament and all the 27 books of the New Testament.
1440 – The Gutenberg Bible is published.
1872 – Sholes and Densmore patent their typewriter with the QWERTY keyboard, still used today.
1925 – S. Freud: Notiz über den Wunderblock, Studienausgabe, Fischer V. vol. III.
1941 – Konrad Zuse builds Z 3, the first machine based on the binary system, in Germany.
1944 – Jorge Luis Borges’s short story titled The Library of Babel is published.
1945 – Vannevar Bush, President Roosevelt’s scientific advisor, describes the concept of Memex in his article As We May Think.
1946 – The computer called ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), started in 1943, is completed.
1962 – Douglas Engelbart begins work on his ambitious augment programme in the Stanford Research Institute, which is the first attempt at official automation and text editing.
1963 – Engelbart publishes A Conceptual Framework of the Augmentation of Man's Intellect, which becomes one of the most frequently quoted sources in the field of information science.
1965 – Ted Nelson coins the term ‘hypertext’: “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.” (in: T.N., A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing and the Indeterminate) and introduces Project Xanadu.
1967 – Andries van Dam develops the Hypertext Editing System, which is followed by the demonstration of the FRESS (File Retrieval and Editing System) in 1968 at Brown University. In this system links can already be made between separate documents based on key words.
1968 – Engelbart implements the NLS (oNLine System) as part of Augment, and invents the mouse.
1969 – Development of ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet.
1971 – Abie Hoffmann and a hacker called Al Bell found a paper titled Youth Intern Party Line. Hoffmann believes that communication is the basis of all revolutions.
1975 – Altair 8800, the first personal computer in the world, is demonstrated in January.
1975 – The Homebrew Computer Club is founded in Menlo Parc, San Francisco. The club with a fast growing membership rejects the commercialisation of computers and promote their wide-ranging and democratic use.
1977 – Apple II is launched.
1978 – A team at MIT develops the Aspen Movie Map system, which works with videodiscs; this can be regarded as the first multimedia application.
1981 – Ted Nelson published his book titled Literary Machine.
1981 – IBM demonstrates the PC-t.
1984 – Hewart Holland-Moritz founds the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) in Hamburg. According to the ethics of hackers, all information should be free and have unlimited access.
1984 – The Yellow Book is published. It contains the standard that defines the format of Compact Disc Read Only Memory (CD-ROM). It is a standard for CDs specifically used for the storage and reading of computer data. A disc can contain 650 Mb digitised data. The standard for the simultaneous display of image and sound is contained in a later supplement to the Yellow Book. This creates the technical opportunity for the production and distribution of interactive multimedia materials.
1985 – Symbolics Document Examiner, developed by Janet Walker, is demonstrated, along with NoteCards, developed by Xerox and Intermedia at Brown Univesity; all three hypertext programmes were made for real users.
1986 – The OWL (Office Workstation Ltd) issues Guide, the development of which was started in 1982 by Peter Brown (Kent University, Canterbury). Guide is the first widely used, general, multi-purpose hypertext system supporting both the Mac and the PC platforms.
1987 – Apple gives a free Hypercard programme with every Macintosh. Hypercard soon becomes the most popular hypertext system.
1988 – Project Xanadu is taken over by the AutoDesk software developer company.
1989 – Tim Berners-Lee proposes the plan of the World Wide Web at CERN (European Laboratory for Particle Physics) in Geneva. He says it was inspired by Project Xanadu.
1991 – The Franklin Electronic Bible is published.
1992 – AutoDesk is forced to restructure and discontinues Project Xanadu, on which it spent 5 million dollars up to this point. The developer right for the XOC is transferred to Memex and the brand name Xanadu is owned by Nelson again.
1992 – CERN officially announces the World Wide Web, which is the multimedia portion of the Internet. WWW documents can be forwarded by a new, HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and the new format is called HyperText Markup Language (HTML).
1993 – NCSA (National Center for Supercomputer Applications) announces Mosaic, a graphic web browser and navigation programme developed by Marc Andreeson.
1993 – The Beatles’ Hard Day’s Night is the first film translated into hypertext format and distributed on CD-ROMs.
1994 – CERN and MIT jointly found the W3 Organization, which sets itself the goal of further developing the Web. The turnover of World Wide Web exceeds that of Gopher.
1994 – Ted Nelson is invited to Japan, where he founds the Sapporo HyperLab. Memex is renamed Filoli.
1995 – The VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) appears.
1996 – The number of Internet domains is 488 thousand, while it was 120 thousand in July 1995. The number of servers almost doubled over a year and is now approaching 13 million. According to a survey, two-thirds of domains begin with www, which indicates a growing penetration of the World Wide Web.