I believe I have mentioned Ted Nelson's ZigZag before. I may even have
mentioned that there exists a GNU Java implementation called gZigZag at
Sourceforge. I now revisit gzz by noting this url:
The project is maturing. I strongly recommend downloading the latest
version, booting it, and becoming thoroughly confused over a completely
different way to visualize high-dimensional information spaces. Here's a
couple of paragraphs from the nutshell page.
"ZigZag is a way of representing the structure of information. Compared with
the previous ways, ZigZag is very different, for example the concepts of
'file', 'folder' and 'application' are abandoned. Because of this a bit of
fantasy, creativity and an ability to forget previous knowledge is needed in
order to understand ZigZag.
A ZigZag structure consists of cells and dimensions. A cell is the basic
unit of information of a ZigZag structure. Cells containing related
information are connected with each other along dimensions, the number of
which is infinite. A ZigZag structure is separate from its visualisation (=
the way the data is presented on the screen), which means that a ZigZag
structure can have many visualisations designed for different purposes.
Even though a ZigZag structure is separate from its visualisation, a ZigZag
structure is not separate from other ZigZag structures. Every piece of
information stored in a digital device using based on ZigZag is in the same
space: the same cells can be connected on several dimensions created for
different structures. For example, the cells containing the names of one's
relatives can be connected on dimensions created for a family tree
structure, an address book structure and a photo album structure."
Of primary interest to an OHS is the idea that an information cell need not
be cloned into several places for different views. Rather, one cell can be
a member of an infinite number of 'threaded' views. That way, only one cell
ever exists for a particular concept, and that lone cell, once modified, is
immediately available to all views which would use it.
I confess, it'll be a long time before I understand how to use gzz, but the
idea makes sense.
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