NYC IxDA Event: Alex Wright, NY Times, Sept. 27th

12 Sep 2007 - 3:18pm
1572 reads
Nasir Barday

NYC IxDers,

It's time for another NYC IxDA event, hot on the heels of event
announcements in Philly, Waterloo, San Francisco, and Boston. This month in
New York, Alex Wright, an Information Architect at the New York Times, will
talk about the technological limitations we face on the web, and about the
Interaction Design lessons that we can learn from the precursors to the web
to help get around them. If you'd like to attend, please e-mail
nyc-rsvp at

Thursday, September 27th at 6:30pm
Location: Midtown, details provided on RSVP (e-mail nyc-rsvp at )

On the Shoulders of Giants

For all the progress that Web designers have made in recent years with rich
media, social software and assorted flavors of Web 2.0, today's Web remains
limited by a few core technological constraints. For most of us who work
with Internet-based applications, the Web is all we have ever really known.
It's almost impossible to imagine a world without browsers, URLs and HTTP.
But if the history of technology teaches us anything, it's that the best
technology does not always win. In the years leading up to Tim
Berners-Lee's invention, other information scientists were building
alternative networked hypertext systems that bore little resemblance to the
Web we know today. In this presentation, we will explore the heritage of
these historical precursors in search of practical lessons for present-day
interaction designers.

As the Web matures, many designers are beginning to bump up against its
fundamental shortcomings: the limitations of one-way hyperlinks and
two-dimensional page metaphors, the lack of archiving and versioning
controls, and the inherent statelessness of HTTP. Yet in the history of
early hypertext, we can find elegant solutions to these problems that may
help us envision different possibilities for Web applications. But first,
we'll have to put some of our technological preconceptions aside.

The presentation will focus on the pioneering early- and mid- twentieth
century work of Paul Otlet, Vannevar Bush, and Doug Engelbart, forebears of
the 1960s and 1970s like Ted Nelson, Andries van Dam, and the Xerox PARC
team, and more recent forays like Brown's Intermedia system. We'll trace
the heritage of these systems and the solutions they suggest to present day
Web quandaries, in hopes of finding clues to the future in the recent
technological past.

About Alex Wright:
Alex Wright is the author of Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages,
hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "a penetrating and highly entertaining
meditation on our information age and its historical roots." Alex currently
works as an information architect at the New York Times; previously, he has
led projects for IBM, Harvard University, The Long Now Foundation, Internet
Archive, Yahoo!, Rollyo and Sun Microsystems, among others. His writing has
appeared in, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street
Journal, The Believer, Harvard Magazine, Boston Business, Utne Reader, New
Architect, Yankee and Library Journal, among others. A popular speaker, he
has previously presented at the Long Now Foundation, Gartner Group,
Institute of Design-Chicago, Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, ASIS&T
Information Architecture Summit, and numerous IBM conferences. Alex holds a
B.A. in English and American Literature from Brown University and an M.S. in
Library and Information Science from Simmons College. He writes regularly

If you'd like to attend, please e-mail nyc-rsvp at And as always, if
you are interested in getting involved with the NYC IxDA, please
e-mail us at nyc at <>

See you soon!
Nasir Barday

Syndicate content Get the feed