The two founding texts in the hypertextual canon are, perhaps ironically, an article by Vannevar Bush that appeared in a 1945 edition of the Atlantic Monthly and Ted Nelson s books of the 1960s and 70s.
While various recent developments have eclipsed or avoided the possibilities in Nelson s ideas, the general principles of hypertext have solidified around the use of digitial technology and links to combine disparate information sources, and types, across documents, networks, and systems. The World Wide Web is a popular and possibly dominant model of such a system, but should be understood as one variety of hypertext, rather than hypertext per se.
In the arena of critical theory hypertext has developed its own particular discourse.
Bush s article described a mechanical machine that could store and retrieve different data types through a process of associational linking across material.
Nelson s work, which continues today in Project Xanadu, envisioned a massive hypertextual system that theoretically would incorporate all documents in a docuverse , and would provide a guaranteed system of authorial rights and returns on the use of parts of any individual s or organisation s work.