Monday, October 20, 2014

Memex Article

I found an article that was published in October 2012 by an academic technology specialist at Standford University. The article is titled 'Building your own Memex.' I found the title intriguing and after spending time reading through it, I think it's worth sharing with everyone. Jason Heppler talks about a key part of capturing system is by having a reference bank where an individual can draw on previously found or created items and integrate them into their workflow.

 Heppler explains the term created by Vannevar Bush "memex" as a mashup of "memory" and "index", where people could store their notes and research whereby it can be mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. Heppler then touched on the Memex he had. He explained how he created his own Memex, whereby he had a taxonomy system of naming plain text files so he can quickly locate the materials. His memex is simply just a collection of plain text files, where some are just a single line of text, others with a few paragraphs and also some with snippets of code he reuses frequently.

My memex contains small bits of information, many related to tech material but also common things he frequently need to use but don’t bother trying to memorize. People always tend to ask him this question 'Why use this system instead of an everything bucket or knowledge base platform like Evernote?' The reason is because he like the freedom and flexibility of plain text, and so this system works better for him to locate information I need quickly and efficiently with minimal mental exertion. There’s no complicated tagging schemas to remember, no platform quirks to toy with, and no lock-in into a single application. So, that was how he build his own personal knowledge base.


  1. I like the article you found because it has a different perspective on what a memex is. Heppler is a valid source and offers good insight. I like your take on "Memex." I think my personal computer is a form a modern medex and goes to show how far back the idea of advanced computers goes.

  2. This article seems very interesting. I like how Heppler takes on his own personal "Memex". Heppler seems very relevant and reliable with a good sense of knowledge on the topic. It is very interesting how you mention that his "Memex" is very simple and contains just a collection of plain text files. My form of "Memex" which I'd consider is probably my phone, is a bit more advanced than his version of it.