AbstractsComputer Science

Building Xanadu: Humanism in the Digital Age

by Constanteyn Theodorus Roelofs

Institution: Leiden University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Digital Humanities; Humanism; Information Science; Theodor Holm Nelson; Douglas Engelbart; Vannevar Bush; Historiography
Record ID: 1252615
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/32762


Three remarkable minds shaped the computer world as we know it today. Douglas Engelbart invented the man-machine interaction system and Theodor Holm Nelson laid out the basic structure of hypertext, which serves as the underpinning principle of the Internet. Both men were inspired by Vannevar Bush, the science advisor to president Roosevelt during World War II and an influential information theorist after that. The question is, were these authors already thinking about the future of humanism as an intellectual discipline? As it turns out, formative ideas for humanism in the computer were already present from the outset.