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2.1.6 Das zunehmende Interesse an Hypertext, Telekommunikation und Internet

Im Geburtsjahr des Internet, 1983, erschien auch die erste Doktorarbeit über Hypertext. Randall Trigg beschrieb darin das Hypertextsystem TEXTNET. Er gab seiner Arbeit den Titel: "A network-based Approach to Text Handling for the Online Scientific community" (Trigg 1983).
Ebenfalls 1983 wurde in Deutschland der Bildschirmtext (BTX) eingeführt. Dies war ein Online-Dienst der Deutschen Bundespost und damit der Vorläufer von T-Online. Über die Telefonleitung konnten die Benutzer auf gespeicherte Texte zugreifen und diese am Fernsehbildschirm betrachten. Hierzu mußte allerdings ein BTX-Decoder in das Fernsehgerät eingebaut sein. BTX ermöglichte es, online Informationen abzurufen, bevor das Internet in Deutschland populär wurde (Rehbein URL, gfu URL).
Bereits 1984 prägte William Gibson das Wort "Cyberspace", das heute im Zusammenhang mit dem World Wide Web häufig verwendet wird. In einem Artikel der Zeitschrift TIME sind der Ursprung und die Bedeutung dieses Wortes sehr anschaulich beschrieben:

IT STARTED, AS THE BIG IDEAS IN TECHNOLOGY often do, with a science-fiction writer. William Gibson, a young expatriate American living in Canada, was wandering past the video arcades on Vancouver's Granville Street in the early 1980s when something about the way the players were hunched over their glowing screens struck him as odd. "I could see in the physical intensity of their postures how rapt the kids were," he says. "It was like a feedback loop, with photons coming off the screens into the kids' eyes, neurons moving through their bodies and electrons moving through the video game. These kids clearly believed in the space the games projected." That image haunted Gibson. He didn't know much about video games or computers - he wrote his breakthrough novel Neuromancer (1984) on an ancient manual typewriter - but he knew people who did. And as near as he could tell, everybody who worked much with the machines eventually came to accept, almost as an article of faith, the reality of that imaginary realm. "They develop a belief that there's some kind of actual space behind the screen," he says. "Some place that you can't see but you know is there." Gibson called that place "cyberspace," and used it as the setting for his early novels and short stories. [...] What is cyberspace? According to John Perry Barlow, a rock-'n'-roll lyricist turned computer activist, it can be defined most succinctly as "that place you are in when you are talking on the telephone." [...] By Barlow's definition, just about everybody has already been to cyberspace. It's marked by the feeling that the person you're talking to is "in the same room". [...] CYBERSPACE, OF COURSE, IS BIGGER THAN a telephone call. It encompasses the millions of personal computers connected by modems - via the telephone system - to commercial online services, as well as the millions more with high-speed links to local area networks, office E-mail systems and the Internet. [...] But these wires and cables and microwaves are not really cyberspace. They are the means of conveyance, not the destination: the information superhighway, not the bright city lights at the end of the road. Cyberspace, in the sense of being "in the same room", is an experience, not a wiring system. [...] It is, like Plato's plane of ideal forms, a metaphorical space, a virtual reality (Elmer-DeWitt 1995, S. 2, 6).

1984/85 war auch die Zeit, in der die ersten graphischen Benutzeroberflächen entstanden (1984: Apple Macintosh, 1985: Windows 1.0).
Seit 1987 lieferte die Firma Apple mit jedem Macintosh-Rechner die hypertextfähige Software HyperCard aus.

Im November 1987 fand die erste Hypertextkonferenz statt, die, wie Nielsen berichtet, äußerst gut besucht war:

An event that really marked the graduation of hypertext from a pet project of a few fanatics to widespread popularity was the first ACM[5] conference on hypertext, Hypertext'87, held at the University of North Carolina on November 13-15, 1987. Almost everybody who had been active in the hypertext field was there, all the way from the original pioneers (except Vannevar Bush) to this author. Unfortunately the conference organizers had completely underestimated the growing interest in hypertext and had to turn away about half of the 500 people who wanted to attend the conference. Even so, we were crammed into two auditoriums that were connected by video transmission, and people had to sit on the floor. For those people who were lucky enough to get in, this was a great conference with plenty of opportunity to meet everybody in the field and to see the richness of ongoing hypertext research and development (Nielsen 1995, S. 63).

[5] ACM = Association for Computing Machinery, the oldest and probably most prestigious organization for computer professionals in the world.

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