In 1945, the Memex was proposed as the ultimate personal library for a user’s books, correspondence, and records. In addition to just storing this data, users could navigate, organize, link, and share it with others. The Memex was even going to come with various input peripherals.
Unfortunately, zero were ever built but the Memex had a direct influence on the first interactive computers and the development of hypertext and the internet. In an age when computers were room-sized analog devices for simulating missile trajectories or calculating payroll, this idea expanded the idea of what computers should be able to do.
Though computers are more powerful and ubiquitous than ever, our digital histories are often inaccessible, fragmented, or locked behind corporate walled gardens. As a long time journaller, notetaker, and digital packrat, the idea of the Memex resonated with me. Inspired by this seventy-year-old vision, I’m now attempting to build an app for making my personal history accessible for search and introspection.
Here’s a recent talk:
What’s built so far:
- Real-time importers for popular web services and apps (email, browser history, photos, podcast listening, ebook reading, etc). Each activity stream gets massaged into a graph-like schema, accessible through a JSON API.
- An interface for searching, filtering, and analyzing the data.
- Features for linking, tagging, and annotating data.
What’s being worked on now:
- An easily installable version of the app.
- Streamlined ways to connect all third-party services.
If you’re interested in learning more, being part of the private beta, or subscribing to the development newsletter, email me or submit your email address: