Foresight Institute
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Enhancing the World Wide Web

Social Software for the Evolution of Knowledge

Current Progress: August 1997
Progress: July 1997
Progress: May 1997
Importance of Hypertext Publishing
Initial proposal for Web Enhancement
Why Corporations Need Improved Hypertext
Hyper-G and Web Enhancement

Current Project Progress, August 1997

The work by Ka-Ping Yee on the M1+ proposal has progressed. The first software enabling universal annotation of all text on the Web, the CRIT Backlink Mediator, was presented at the EXTRO 3 Conference, and is now available on the Web. Full Story.

Ka-Ping Yee demonstrates his Crit Mediator software to Eric Drexler and to hypertext pioneer Doug Engelbart

Project Progress, July 1997

There increasingly appear to be many practical ways of implementing a true hypertext publishing system on the WWW. Since Foresight first addressed this opportunity two years ago, the methods considered have included backlinks, Hyper-G and most recently the Annotator. Independent of the Annotator work referred to in May's progress update below is a solution coded by Ka-Ping Yee using a design originally conceived by Mark Miller. Ping's M1+ proposal has performed very well in initial trials, and is presented here. Everyone involved in the Web Enhancement project at Foresight is very excited about this development, and we will soon bring you more details and a perspective on the importance of this work.

Project Progress, May 1997

Chris Peterson explains why Foresight now believes that the Annotator code developed by Wayne Gramlich seems more promising than Hyper-G for developing a hypertext publishing system to handle real debates on complex issues. Terry Stanley, who is now completing the Annotator project for Foresight, describes how the Annotator works.

Importance of Hypertext Publishing

Foresight Institute has a special interest in systems to improve the evolution of knowledge and to enhance the quality of discussions and decisions. The goal driving this project is the subject of the essay Hypertext Publishing and the Evolution of Knowledge. See also Chapter 14 of Engines of Creation. The World Wide Web, as it currently exists, is a partial implementation of a hypertext publishing system.

Initial proposal for Web Enhancement

As both the successes and the limitations of the World Wide Web have become apparent over the past two years, Foresight has developed an initiative to get the features required for a true hypertext publishing system incorporated into World Wide Web standards. This "Web Enhancement Project" was explained first in an article in Foresight Update 21, and also in an overview article. The initial proposal mostly depended on getting additional code written, but in addition the backlinks page describes near-term solutions enabling backlinks immediately using existing browsers and search engines.

Why Corporations Need Improved Hypertext

A proposal by David Forrest on "How Can we Leverage Corporate Influence to Catalyze the Development and Adoption of an Improved Hypertext Standard?"

Hyper-G and Web Enhancement

Fortunately, the need for Foresight Institute to write the software to turn the WWW into a true hypertext publishing system has been eliminated by the introduction of Hyper-G, designated HyperWave in its commercial version. This article explains the advantages of Hyper-G and describes the current status and the next steps of Foresight's Web Enhancement Project. Since this article was written, Foresight has revised its Web Enhancement strategy to emphasize other approaches in addition to Hyper-G.

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