The Journal : jrnl


For the special symposium on the 50th Anniversary of Doug Engelbart's demo, 9th of December 2018, we will produce a printed book of presentations of the speakers and additional written statements by them. Furthermore, in order to honour a small part of his legacy, we are building our version of his Journal (we are calling just ‘jrnl’ to differentiate it in people's minds) which aims to deliver on some of the interactive elements which he invented but which are largely missing from today's online environments and that is this project.


The point jrnl is that we believe that connected online documents are still in infancy. We can and must do better.


The jrnl is based on open technologies and open systems with the WordPress blogging platform as its core, a platform we believe still has a lot to offer, as Wired recently wrote “it's time for an rss revival.” We have set up a WordPress blog at for dialogue and testing which you should free to have a look at.


In addition to the formal contributions to the Symposium, the jrnl is being populated with the casual dialogue of our daily work as we discuss the system itself which will help us get a better feel for the system as we build it, ‘eating our own dog food’ as they are so fond of saying in Silicon Valley. The different contributions will naturally be posted under different categories, providing a clear entry point for each year's official Future of Text Symposium posts.


The goal is to make adding to the record usefully browsable, searchable and viewable in flexible ways, so that we may come closer to escaping the ‘Bush Curse’:

Thus far we seem to be worse off than ever before - for we can enormously extend the record; yet even in it's present bulk we can hardly consult it.

Vannevar Bush The Atlantic Monthly 1945


The Use Case


Inspired by Doug Engelbart we are working to not only write about this in hypothetical terms but also to build it so that we can demonstrate the usefulness of what is proposed, all focused around a specific use case: Initial Use Case


Components To Build


The jrnl components are separated both to make each one easer to focus on and because they should be as independent as possible in order to remain open and to allow for any other party's components to integrate, supporting a specific use case. To discuss the priorities listed here, please use the Category Priorities in the blog: jrnl Components To Build





  • Clear visuals
  • Rich interactions
  • Fast Citations
  • High-Resolution Addressing
  • Socratic Authoring considerations
  • Support for multiple timelines view specifications
  • Support for multiple article view specifications
  • Follow the insights of Doug Engelbart, whom you can hear discuss some of these topics on this site, in the Audio Glossary and read more about on the Doug Engelbart Institute.





  • Based on open blog standards
  • Adheres to standard WordPress and RSS feeds, thus allowing contributors flexibility and data ownership
  • Component based/object oriented so that anyone can choose which functionality they want, without needing to take the whole system
  • Integration with Twitter or other short text/live media
  • Integration with YouTube or other video storage and extract transcripts





  • Frode Hegland, developer of macOS and iOS software; is the principal investigator and project lead. His Liquid | Author word processor is available as a test environment for publishing functions
  • Christopher Gutteridge from the University of Southampton is principal architect
  • Stephan Kreutzer is actively working on the project.
  • The Advisory Board is Ismail Serageldin, David Price and Howard Rheingold with Vint Cerf as chairman of the advisory board
  • Dialogue Partners include Bruce Horn, Mark Anderson, Jacob Hazelgrove, Marc Antoine Parent, Gyuri Lajos, Teodora Petkova, Timour Shoukine and Paul Presley
  • You? We are currently seeking collaborators and funding so please get in touch if you are interested in contributing