2.2 Reading – Literary Machines

Nelson’s main focus within the article is to pronounce his ‘Universal repository hyperlink system’ along with foresee future envisions as to the online storage systems that will be necessary by 2020. Nelson tells of his project, The Xanadu – a system which is designed to address online storage systems through hypertext. Nelson tells “The Xanadu system is designed to address many forms of text structure, has grown into a design for universal storage of all interactive media.”


Bringing hypertext back to a simple definition in order to educate the reader of it’s importance, Nelson relays “We can create new forms of writing that better reflect the structure of what we are writing about; and readers choosing a pathway, may follow their interests or current line of thought in a way hereto for considered impossible”. Additionally, Nelson determains the three basic relationships is ‘Xanalogical theoary’.

– Origin – the parts where elements begin

– Commonality – the sharing of elements between units

– Links – that mark, annotate and connect portions


Nelson’s Xanadu theory and observations from 92’ into the online storage requirements of the future appear relevant. Whilst reading this article online storage systems came to mind that seemed fitting to Nelson’s theory. Perhaps in concept rather than technicalities, however, online storage systems such as ‘Dropbox’ and Apple’s iColud seem in line with the ideals Nelson investigated throughout the Xanadu project.