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Carlea Holl-Jensen||cholljen@umd.edu


HCIL-97-21

Shneiderman, B. (1997)
Codex, Memex, Genex: The Pursuit of Tranformational Technologies
International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction 10,2 (1998), 87-106.
HCIL-97-21, CS-TR-3862, UMIACS-TR-97-89

Handwritten codexes or printed books transformed society by allowing users to preserve and transmit information. Today, leather-bound volumes and illuminated manuscripts are giving way to animated image maps and hot links. Vannevar Bush's memex has inspired the World Wide Web, which provides users with vast information resources and convenient communications. In looking to the future, we might again transform society by building genexes -- generators of excellence. Such inspirational environments would empower personal and collaborative creativity by enabling users to:
  • collect information from an existing domain of knowledge,
  • create innovations using advanced tools,
  • consult with peers or mentors in the field, and then
  • disseminate the results widely.
This paper describes how a framework for an integrated set of software tools might support this four-phase model of creativity in science, medicine, the arts, and beyond. Current initiatives are positive and encouraging, but they do not work in an integrated fashion, often miss vital components, and are frequently poorly designed. A well-conceived and clearly-stated framework could guide design efforts, coordinate planning, and speed development.


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