The Quick Story on the OHS
Ninety percent of the Open Hyperdocument System will be substructure -- linkbases (databases of links), object repositories (collections of documents, images, video, and audio), and document structures.
People routinely ask, "What does it look like?" It's a reasonable question, but somewhat like asking "What does Unix look like?", with the same answer: it doesn't. The foundation of the OHS is all in programming language. Which moves on to the Hyperscope, that will look like something.
The Hyperscope will be a browser plug-in accessing the architecture and databases of the OHS.
OHS/Hyperscope FeaturesAmong other aggravations, the OHS/Hyperscope will be designed to end:
The email swamp.
Scrolling through documents looking for a particular bit of information.
Broken links and lost web pages.
Being at the mercy of page designers when viewing information.
Beyond Information RetrievalHowever, the OHS/Hyperscope go beyond high quality information retrieval, to "knowledge compounding," and will contain many other features, including:
Broad compatibility. OHS will be interoperable over all legacy HTML documents.
Information packaging. The ability to package snippets of information from different web sites into your own document -- plus the ability to email your creation to a colleague.
Annotation. The ability to make notes to a colleague's work, without changing the original.
The OHS is being developed under an open source license (Apache). Mining Augment/NLS systems for start-off features, it is being written in Java and XML.
The OHS is not being designed to supercede HTML or the Web; on the contrary, the goal is to eventually address all legacy documents. Which is why it is open source; the OHS needs to be fully extensible to succeed.
In the open source spirit, the OHS is not meant to be a finished product. Doug Engelbart has emphasized to the OHS developers that he wants an architecture foundation as solid as the rock of Gibralter -- and beyond that, adaptable and expansible to support continuing evolution. The OHS developers expect that people in China will be using information in ways no European could imagine, and vice versa; the architecture is being designed to not only allow, but encourage this.