[NetBehaviour] Edge-notched cards: stacks of papercraft hypertext.

marc.garrett at furtherfield.org marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Jun 18 10:45:41 CEST 2008

Edge-notched cards: stacks of papercraft hypertext.

Kevin Kelly brings us an extraordinary reminiscence of the
not-entirely-defunct (?) "edge-notched card," a punchcard hypertext
technology that inspired visionaries and weirdos for decades before the PC
came along.

Edge-notched cards were invented in 1896. These are index cards with holes
on their edges, which can be selectively slotted to indicate traits or
categories, or in our language today, to act as a field. Before the advent
of computers were one of the few ways you could sort large databases for
more than one term at once. In computer science terms, you could do a
"logical OR" operation. This ability of the system to sort and link
prompted Douglas Engelbart in 1962 to suggest these cards could implement
part of the Memex vision of hypertext.


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