The look back by this forward-thinking man is not without its bitterness. The Web, after all, can be seen as a bastardization of his original notion that hyperlinks should point both forward and backward.
Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, organized all the world’s content through a one-way mechanism of uniform source locators, or URLs. Lost in the process was Mr. Nelson’s two-way link concept that simultaneously pointed to the content in any two connected documents, protecting, he has argued in vain, the original intellectual lineage of any object.
One-way links can be easily broken, and there is no simple way to preserve authorship and credit, as was possible with a project called Xanadu that Mr. Nelson began in the 1960s. His two-way links might have avoided the Web’s tornado-like destruction of the economic value of the printed word, he has contended, by incorporating a system of micropayments.
John Markoff writing about Ted Nelson and his new book Geeks Bearing Gifts in this morning's New York Times.