To Grow in Wisdom: Vannevar Bush, Information Overload, and the Life of Leisure David M. Levy The Information School University of Washington Suite 370, Mary Gates Hall, Box 352840 Seattle, WA 98195 01-206-616-2545 firstname.lastname@example.org ABSTRACT It has been nearly sixty years since Vannevar Bush s essay, As We May Think, was first published in The Atlantic Monthly, an article that foreshadowed and possibly invented hypertext. While much has been written about this seminal piece, little has been said about the argument Bush presented to justify the creation of the memex, his proposed personal information device. This paper revisits the article in light of current technological and social trends. It notes that Bush s argument centered around the problem of information overload and observes that in the intervening years, despite massive technological innovation, the problem has only become more extreme. It goes on to argue that today s manifestation of information overload will require not just better management of information but the creation of space and time for thinking and reflection, an objective that is consonant with Bush s original aims. Today the article is recognized as a seminal work, one that foreshadowed, and possibly invented, hypertext, and
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