54-year-old software project escapes vapor status to take on the PDF

In the world of software, it’s not unusual for things to get delayed. But for a project called Xanadu from Ted Nelson (who created the term for hypertext), that delay has spanned five decades, and could have led to the underpinnings of a very different internet if it had been completed sooner, or at all.

The project was originally created to help links sources within documents, embedding them alongside the work you’re looking at. In Nelson’s working example, which went live in April and was spotted by The Guardian, you can go down a page and see the eight other documents where sections are sourced from. Clicking on any will take you there without leaving the main document. What may seem like a very fancy bibliography was conceptualized…

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