NSF WWW Workshop, Fox Position Paper: Context
held in Seattle early in July, we will be among the
first to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the July 1945 Atlantic Monthly
publication of As We May Think by Vannevar Bush. It is still sobering
to compare our tools, including Mosaic, to his "memex," and to see how far
we have advanced toward solving the problems he addressed: encouraging
reuse of scientific discoveries and dealing with the many problems of the
- Researchers who for decades have worked on the component technologies that
make WWW a reality (e.g., EP [electronic publishing], HT [hypertext],
IR [information retrieval], MM [multimedia], networking, client/server
computing, PCs/workstations, ...) are all eager to apply their specialized
knowledge and skills to improve it further.
- Researchers who have integrated these technologies into various types of
systems, services and environments, are now eager to move us from today's
WWW toward a global digital library, of grand scale, in terms of content,
audience, and use.
- Today's "Nintendo" generation is finding WWW to be the next target for
its pursuit of edutainment, at the same time that teachers are turning
to it as the host for new courseware, businesses are looking at it as
a way to contact customers "without the middleman", and scholars are
looking toward it as a unified and collaborative intellectual workspace.