The memex (a portmanteau of memory and index) is the name given by Vannevar Bush to the theoretical proto-hypertext computer system he proposed in his 1945 The Atlantic Monthly article As We May Think. The memex is a device in which an individual compresses and stores all of their books, records, and communications which is then mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. A document can be given a simple numerical code that allows the user to access it after dialing the number combination. Documents are also able to be edited in real-time. This process makes annotation fast and simple. The memex is an enlarged intimate supplement to one's memory. The memex has influenced the development of subsequential hypertext and intellect-augmenting computer systems.
A memex consists of a desk, on top of which are slanting translucent screens on which material can be projected for convenient reading. Within the desk are mechanisms that store information through microphotography. Most of the memex contents are purchased on microfilm ready for insertion. On the top of the memex is a transparent platen. When a longhand note, photograph, memoranda, and other things are in place, depressing a lever causes it to be photographed onto the next blank space in a section of the memex film, dry photography being employed.
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