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The Xanadu System (aka Project Xanadu)

"Mr. Hypertext" Ted Nelson is the creator of the Xanadu System. His great interest in hypertext came to be the research on Project Xanadu.

Xanadu vs. World Wide Web

The original creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, designed it as "a simplified version of Xanadu after reading Nelson's work. Nelson's response to the Web was 'nice try'. He said it is a 'trivial implied hypertext ideas, though cleverly implemented' (from Ted Nelson and Project Xanadu)."


The idea came out in 1960 --- Ted Nelson was busying himself speaking and publishing about Xanadu. "Later, The Project Xanadu team is formed to complete the design of a universal networking server for the system (from Ted Nelson and Project Xanadu)." In 1988, Autodesk bought the project, however, after putting in five million dollars into it, they dropped Xanadu in 1992. When that happened, Nelson reclaimed Xanadu and re-thought the entire process so that he could finally finish it.

What Xanadu Is

(Note: I'm citing this from Layer 9: Protocol) Ted Nelson, who learned from renegade pioneers Vannevar Bush and John C. Lilly claimed a plan called "Xanadu" that is an electric library in a satellite that can be used from anywhere on earth via electromagnetic waves and a telephone receiver. It is a Mongolian Utopia where every text culture will exist forever. That is why it is called Xanadu, because its hypertext can make it real in the world. Ted Nelson will go down in history as a proponent of it.

Relation to Serial Experiments Lain

The term "Xanadu" in Nelson's mind means "the magic place of literary memory." The Wired in Lain is astonishingly real to the point where you can actually live in it. Perhaps this is where Xanadu could be involved, but I'm not sure. Though actually, the Wired in Lain wasn't improved with Xanadu. As shown in the series, it was Eiri Masami who devised Protocol 7, which utilized the Schumann Resonance. However, at the same time, you can't help but wonder if Xanadu was in some way involved. Anyway, it's just my idea.

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Additional Resources
Ted Nelson Home Page
Ted Nelson and Project Xanadu

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