Coinage of "Hypertext"

Elizabeth Phillips phille at NYTIMES.COM
Mon Jun 11 13:18:34 UTC 2001

We went with the August 1965 paper because Ted Nelson said that is the
publication he himself cites for his coinage of "hypertext." Thank you,
nonetheless, however, for the clarification!


At 08:07 AM 6/9/01 -0400, Fred Shapiro wrote:
>In tomorrow's "On Language" column, William Safire contacts Ted Nelson,
>the coiner of the term "hypertext."  Nelson tells Safire that "the coinage
>was in an August 1965 paper by Nelson titled 'A File Structure for the
>Complex, the Changing and the Indeterminate.'"
>In fact, "hypertext" appeared earlier in 1965.  In the Vassar Miscellany
>News, 3 Feb. 1965, there was an article entitled "Prof. Nelson Talk
>Analyzes P.R.I.D.E."  This article includes the following passage:
>He introduced the concept of the hyper-text, which would be a more
>flexible, more generalized, non-linear presentation of material on a
>particular subject.  The educational possibilities in the use of the
>hyper-text are vast.
>Fred Shapiro
>Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
>Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
>  and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
>Yale Law School                             forthcoming
>e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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