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The KWIC and the Dead: A Lesson in Computing History


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Holmes, WN 2001 , 'The KWIC and the Dead: A Lesson in Computing History' , Computer, vol. 34, no. 1 , 144, 142-143 , doi: 10.1109/2.962988.

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This essay looks at the very early history of text indexing and browsing and suggests how old techniques such as KWIC indexing could be put to improved used using modern computers.
The computing profession's purpose is to promote, for the greater community's benefit, the use of formal representations of facts or ideas and of machines and processes for the storage and transformation of such representations. Thus, our profession's history originated in the culture of the printers and scribes who promoted the use of the written languages from which our present binary representations developed. The article argues that ideas published decades ago may suggest solutions to some of today's most pressing technological and social challenges. It also suggests that the computing profession can develop faster and better through cumulative innovation, building on its past instead of ignoring it.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Holmes, WN
Keywords: text indexing, text browsing, Vannevar Bush, Memex, Theodore Nelson, Project Xanadu, World Wide Web
Journal or Publication Title: Computer
ISSN: 0018-9162
DOI / ID Number: 10.1109/2.962988
Additional Information:

This essay has been more formally published as essay 5.3 in the author's book "Computers and People" (Wiley, 2006). This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. In most cases, these works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

Copyright 2001 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE.

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