digital text timeline


Timeline for The Future of Text Book. Please send additions and comments to


the analogue timeline is on a separate page for now


NOTE: I would greatly appreciate it if you keep the format the same for any additions:


Year – Item/Event, by person at company





7500 Near Eastern counters “Tokens” to keep track of goods are the earliest antecedents of the Mesopotamian Cuneiform script. The stylus was used for this


3300 Reduction of three-dimensional Near Eastern tokens into two-dimensional signs on envelopes holding tokens


3200 First logographic Near Eastern accounting lists written on clay tablets by impressing tokens


3100 First logographic proto-cuneiform signs traced with a stylus on accounting tablets


3000 First proto-cuneiform phonetic signs to represent personal names on economic tablets


2700 First cuneiform texts that departed from accounting: funerary texts


2400 First cuneiform tablet dealing with trade


2300 First written sentence. These texts were inscribed on votive worshippers’ statues dedicated to a god and requesting immortality


2000 Classical period of the Sumerian Cuneiform Scrip


1700 Early, perhaps even first, alphabetic evidence in the Egyptian Pharaoh’s turquoise mines at Serabit el-Khadim in the south-west Sinai Peninsula


1500 Phoenician Alphabet of 22 consonants was among the early mature alphabets. It spread over the Mediterranean and led to the Greek, Hebrew, Roman, Arabic and modern alphabets


1300s Wax tablet with stylus


1200 Torah was copied onto a scroll by Moses according to the Hebrew tradition


900-400 The Greek Alphabet emerged around the ninth or eight century BC which had distinct letters for vowels, not only consonants. Many versions of the Greek alphabet existed but by the fourth century it had been standardised into twenty-four letters, ordered from alpha to omega


331 Alexandria founded by Alexander the Great

300s  Reed pens for writing on papyrus


283 Library of Alexandria founded by Ptolemy I Soter


257-180 Punctuation is invented at the Library of Alexandria by Aristophanes of Byzantium


250 Parchment Scrolls





220 Earliest surviving woodblock printed fragment (China)



500s Quill used until about the 19th century, when replaced by the pen



700s Word space pioneered by Celtic monks



900     Screen Printing in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD)



1377 Jikji the oldest surviving book was printed, using moveable metal type



1400s Movable Type Printing Press by Johannes Gutenberg

1470 Roman Type, inspired by the text on ancient Roman buildings by Nicolas Jenson

1479 Manicule in Breviarium totius juris canonici, compiled by Paolo Attavanti printed in Milan by the German firm of Leonhard Pachel and Ulrich Scinzenzeller,



1500s Garamond Font. Claude Garamont, a French type designer, publisher and punch-cutter lived in Paris. Many old-style serif typefaces are collectively known as Garamond, named after him

1500(ca)  Etching for Printing by Daniel Hopfer

1501 Italic Fonts by Aldus Manutius

1560 First blueprints for the modern, wood-encased carpentry pencil by Simonio and Lyndiana Bernacotti

1564 Graphite for pencils come into widespread use following the discovery of a large graphite deposit in Borrowdale, England

1565 Mechanical/Lead Holder Pencil by Conrad Gesner

1593 Index to content in a book, by Christopher Marlowe in Hero and Leander



1642  Mezzotint Printmaking by Ludwig von Siegen

1665 Lead Pencils made from graphite mined in Seathwaite in Borrowdale parish, Cumbria, England

1667 Acoustic String Telephone by Robert Hooke

1677 Artificial Versifying by John Peter



1770 Natural Rubber as eraser by Edward Nairne

1755 The Oxford English Dictionary by Oxford University Press

1772  Aquatint Printing by Peter Perez Burdett, named by Paul Sandby

1780 Didot and Bodoni by Firmin Didot and Giambattista Bodoni, the first ‘modern’ Modern Roman typefaces

1707-1778 Index Card organization by Carl Linnaeus

1795  Modern Pencil by Nicholas-Jacques Conté

1796  Lithography by Alois Senefelder



1801 Blackboard by James Pillans

1801 Carbon Paper by Pellegrino Turri

1806 Patent for Carbon Paper by Ralph Wedgwood

1816 First Typeface Without Serifs by William Caslon IV

1816 First Working Telegraph by Francis Ronalds used static electricity and was rejected by the Admiralty as “wholly unnecessary”

1796  Colour Lithography by Alois Senefelder

1822 Menchanical Pencil with a Mechanism to Propell Repleaceable Lead by Sampson Mordan and John Isaac Hawkins

1828 Pencil Sharpener by Bernard Lassimonne

1836 Chorded Keyboard by Wheatstone and Cooke

1837 Morse Code by Samuel F. B. Morse, Joseph Henry, and Alfred Vail

1839  Vlucanized Rubber for Eraser by Charles Goodyear

1839 Electrical Telegraph Commercialised by Sir William Fothergill Cooke

1843  Rotary Drum Printing by Richard March Hoe

1846 Print Output envisioned by Charles Babbage from his Difference Engine 2

1854 Boolean algebra the mathematical basis of digital computing, developed by George Boole in The Laws of Thought

1860 Hectograph, gelatin duplicator or jellygraph by

1864 Analog ‘SPAM’. Unsolicited group telegram advertisement

1858 Eraser on Pencil by Hymen Lipman

1868 Kineograph / Flip-Book by John Barnes Linnett

1870s QWERTY layout by Christopher Latham Sholes

1874 Stencil Duplicating by Eugenio de Zuccato

1876 Telephone Patent by Alexander Graham Bell

1876 Telephone Switch, which allowed for the formation of telephone exchanges and eventually networks by Tivadar Puská

1876 Autographic Printing by Thomas Edison

1881 Harvard Citation Style (author date) by Edward Laurens Mark at Harvard University

1884 Linotype by Ottmar Mergenthaler

1888 Ballpoint Pen by John J. Loud

1895 Universal Bibliography, or Répertoire Bibliographique Universel proposed by Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine

1874 Typewriters (see previous section)

1891 Automatic Cyclostyle by David Gestetner



1903 First message to travel around the globe by Commercial Pacific Cable Company, from US President Theodore Roosevelt, wishing “a happy Independence Day to the US, its territories and properties...” It took nine minutes for the message to travel worldwide

1904 Patent for a “type wheel printing telegraph machine” filed by Charles Krum which would go on to be come Teletype in 1929

1901 Trans-Atlantic Radio Signal by Marconi Company

1907 Commercial Transatlantic Radio Telegraph Cable opened by Marconi Company

1906/7 Photographic Copying Machines by George C. Beidler at the Rectigraph Company



1913 Plantin typeface by Frank Hinman Pierpont and draughtsman Fritz Stelzer. the British Monotype Corporation, based on a Gros Cicero face cut in the 16th century by Robert Granjon

1914 Optophone (OCR precursor) by Emanuel Goldberg, a machine which read characters and converted them into standard telegraph code

1914 Handheld Scanner (OCR precursor) by Edmund Fournier d’Albe a machine which read characters and converted them into tones

1910 Felt-tip marking pen by Lee Newman



1920s First Full-Time Type Designer Frederic Goudy

1925 Corkboard by George Brooks

1927 Futura typeface family by Paul Renner

1924  Art Color Pencils by Faber-Castell and Caran d’Ache

1929 Hellschreiber by Rudolf Hell, precursor to dot matrix printing



1930 The Readies concept by Bob Brown

1931 Knowledge Machine by Emanuel Goldberg

1931 Biro by brothers László Bíró and György Bíró

1932 Times New Roman typeface by Victor Lardent under the direction of Stanley Morison, on a commission of the Times newspaper, based on the Plantin typeface

1934 Logik der Forschung by Karl R. Popper advanced the theory that the demarcation of the limit of scientific knowledge, is its ‘falsifiability’ and not its ‘verifiability’

1935 Monde book By Paul Otlet

1936 World Brain by H. G. Wells

1936 Dvorak Keyboard Layout by August Dvorak



1942 Xerography Patent by Chester Carlson. The technique was originally called electrophotography

1944 Marking pen which held ink in liquid form in its handle and used a felt tip by Walter J. De Groft which becomes “Sharpie” in 1964

1945 Memex proposed by Vannevar Bush in ‘As We May Think’

1946 ‘A Logic Named Joe’ by Murray Leinster

1946 Electric Printing Telegraph by Alexander Bain, precursor to the fax

1948 A Mathematical Theory of Communication by Claude Shannon, including he word ‘bit,’ short for binary digit, and credited to John Tukey

1948 The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society by Norbert Wiener. The word cybernetics was first used in the context of the study of self-governance of people by Plato and in 1834 by André-Marie Ampère to mean the sciences of government in his classification system of human knowledge. Here Norbert Wiener introduced the term for the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine.

1949 El libro mecánico by Ángela Ruiz Robles

1949 The Lumitype-Photon Phototypesetting by the Photon Corporation based on the Lumitype of Rene Higonnet and Louis Moyroud



1949 Fr Roberto Busa starts work on computerizing his Index Thomisticus (St Thomas Aquinas), in the process founding Humanities computing



1950 Whirlwind computer at MIT including a display oscilloscope

1951 Doug Engelbart’s Epiphany “problems are getting more complex and urgent and have to be dealt with collectively- we have to deal with them collectively”

1951 Qu’est-ce que la documentation? by Suzanne Briet

1951 UNIVAC (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at EMCC/ Remington Rand

1952 Manchester Mark I computer Love Letter Generator by Christopher Strachey (using a random number algorithm by Alan Turing

1952 Antitrust Investigations And Trial Against IBM. It will drag on for thirty years, finally being dismissed in 1982. IBM will cautiously monitor its microcomputer business practices, fearful of a repeat of government scrutiny

1952-4 Dot Matrix Teletypewriter developed by Fritz Karl Preikschat at

1953 UNIVAC 1103 designed by Seymour Cray at the Engineering Research Associates and built by the Remington Rand corporation

1953 Magic Marker by Sidney Rosenthal

1953 The Lumitype-Photon Phototypesetting first used to set a complete published book

1953 The Lumitype-Photon Phototypesetting first used for newspaper

1954 Charactron by J. T. McNaney at Convair was a shaped electron beam cathode ray tube functioning both a display device and a read-only memory storing multiple characters and fonts on the UNIVAC 1103

1954 IBM 740 CRT used computers to draw vector graphics images, point by point, on 35 mm film

1956 Keyboard and Light Pen for computer text input at MIT on the Whirlwind computer

1956 305 RAMAC by IBM used a moving-head hard disk drive

1956 ‘Artificial Intelligence’ term coined by John McCarthy at MIT

1957 COMIT string processing language by Victor Yngve and collaborators at MIT

1957 Univers typeface family by Adrian Frutiger

1957 Dye-sublimation Printing by Noël de Plasse at Sublistatis SA

1957 Helvetica typeface family by Max Miedinger

1958 The Uses Of Argument and invention of the argumentation diagram by Stephen Toulmin

1958 Integrated circuit by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments



1960 Colossal Typewriter by John McCarthy and Roland Silver at Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN)

1960 Ted Nelson’s Epiphany about interactive screens becoming universal, on-line publishing by individuals

1960s ‘Word Processing’ term invented by IBM

1960 Suggestion for Emoticon by Vladimir Nabokov

1961 Selectric Typewriter by IBM with a ball print head instead of jamming bars, which could be easily replaced for different fonts and left the paper in place and moved the type ball instead

1961 Synthesised Speech by John Larry Kelly, Jr and Louis Gerstman of Bell Labs

1961 Expensive Typewriter by Steve Piner and L. Peter Deutsch

1962 TECO ( Text Editor & Corrector), both a character-oriented text editor and a programming language, by Dan Murphy

1962 Highlighter Pen by Frank Honn

1962 Modern fiber-tipped Pen by Yukio Horie at the Tokyo Stationery Company

1962 Enciclopedia Mecánica by Ángela Ruiz Robles

1962 RUNOFF by Jerome H. Saltzer. Bob Morris and Doug McIlroy (text editor with pagination)

1962 The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

1962 Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework by Doug Engelbart

1963 Sketchpad (a.k.a. Robot Draftsman) by Ivan Sutherland

1963 Augmentation Research Center by Doug Engelbart at SRI

1963 TJ-2 (Type Justifying Program) by Peter Samson (first page layout program)

1963 ASCII  (developed from telegraph code)

1963 ‘Hypertext’ coined by Ted Nelson

1963 Computer Mouse and Chorded Keyset by Doug Engelbart

1964 ELIZA natural language-like processing computer program by Joseph Weizenbaum at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

1964 LDX (Long Distance Xerography) by Xerox Corporation, considered to be the first commercial fax machine

1964 Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan

1964 ASCII 7-bit standard

1965 TV-Edit, one of the first CRT-based display editors that was widely used by Brian Tolliver for the DEC PDP-1 computer

1965 Semi-Conductor Based Thermal Printer by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments

1965 ‘Hypertext’ by Ted Nelson first in print, as well as first design (zipper lists).

1965 MAIL Command for MIT’s CTSS ,proposed by Pat Crisman, Glenda Schroeder, & Louis Pouzin, then implemented by Tom Van Vleck and Noel Morris

1967 HES (The Hypertext Editing System) co-designed at Brown University by Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam and Steve Carmody, as well as other student implementors, based in part on a spec Ted had written previously for Harcourt Brace.

1968 Doug Engelbart’s Seminal Demo of the NLS system at FJCC, including windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing, the computer mouse & chorded keyset, word processing, dynamic file linking and revision control

1968 Dynabook Concept by Alan Kay

1968 Digi Grotesk, digital font by Rudolph Hell

1968 OCR-A monotype font for Optical Character Recognition by 23 American type foundries

1968 OCR-B monospace font by Adrian Frutiger for Monotype

1968 Serial Impact Dot Matrix Printer by OKI

1968 SHRDLU natural language understanding computer program by Terry Winograd at MIT

1969 FRESS, inspired in part by HES and Engelbart’s NLS by Andy van Dam and his students at Brown University

1969 GML, leading to SGML by Charles Goldfarb, Edward Mosher and Raymond Lorie at IBM

1969 Ed line editor for the Unix, developed in by Ken Thompson

1969  Structured Writing and Information Mapping by Robert E. Horn

1969 ARPANET based on concepts developed in parallel with work by Paul Baran, Donald Davies, Leonard Kleinrock and Lawrence Roberts



1970 IBIS (issue-based information system) conceptualised by Horst Rittel

1970 gIBIS and QuestMap by Jeff Conklin

1970s Gyricon Electronic Paper by Nick Sheridon at Xerox’s PARC

1970 Journal by David A. Evans

1970 Bomber by Len Deighton, first published novel written with the aid of a commercial word processor, IBM’s MT/ST (IBM 72 IV)

1970 XEROX PARC founded by Jacob E. Goldman of XEROX

1970 Daisy Wheel Printing by Andrew Gabor at Diablo Data Systems allowing for proportional fonts

1971 New York Times article refers to “the brave new world of Word Processing”

1971 Laser Printer by Gary Starkweather at XEROX PARC

1971 File Transfer Protocol (FTP) by Abhay Bhushan

1971 Project Gutenberg by Michael S. Hart

1971 Email with @ by Ray Tomlinson

1972 First Emoticons on the PLATO IV computer system

1972 TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) founded by Prof Marianne McDonald at the University of California, Irvine, to create a comprehensive digital collection of all surviving Greek texts from antiquity to the present era

1972 C programming language by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson

1972 XEROX STAR memo written by Butler Lampson, inspired by NLS

1973 Xerox Alto by XEROX PARC

1973 Community Memory Bulletin Board precursor

1974 Omni-Font Optical Character Recognition System (OCR) Scanners by Ray Kurzweil at Kurzweil Computer Products

1974 Bravo by Butler Lampson, Charles Simonyi at Xerox PARC the precursor to Word

1974 Computer Lib/Dream Machines by Ted Nelson

1974  ‘Writing with light, writing on glass’ were the closing words of Wilfred A. Beeching’s ‘Century of the Typewriter’

1974 TCP by Robert E. Kahn and Vinton G. Cerf

1975 ZOG built at CMU

1975 MUSA Speech Synthesis systems

1975 Altair 8800 by Ed Roberts and Forrest M. Mims III

1975 Gypsy by Larry Tesler, Timothy Mott, Butler Lampson, Charles Simonyi, with advice from Dan Swinehart and other colleagues

1975 Colossal Cave Adventure text adventure game by Will Crowther

1976 Frutiger series of typefaces by Adrian Frutiger.

1976 Apple Computer (later Apple Inc.) founded Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne

1976 The Metanovel: Writing Stories by Computer by James Meehan

1976 Emacs (Editor MACroS) by David A. Moon, Guy L. Steele Jr. and Richard M. Stallman, based on TECO

1976 vi by Bill Joy (now Vim)

1976 PROMIS (Problem-Oriented Medical Information System) by Jan Schultz and Lawrence Weed the University of Vermont

1977 Apple II by Steve Wozniak at Apple

1977 DataLand developed at MIT

1977 Inkjet Printing by Ichiro Endo at Canon

1977 Name/Finger protocol (provided status on a particular computer system or person at network sites) by Harrenstien

1978 Aspen Movie Map, the first hypermedia videodisk by Andy Lippman of the MIT Architecture Machine Group

1978 Public dial-up BBS by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess.

1978 TeX by Donald Knuth

1978 Vancouver Citation Style (author number), as a part of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (URMs)

1978 QuarkXPress by Quark

1978 Earliest Documented Spam (although the term had not yet been coined) by Gary Thuerk

1978 LISA by Apple design starts, with a requirement for proportional fonts

1978 Speak & Spell by Texas Instruments

1978 Highlighters with fluorescent colors by Dennison Company

1978 Wordstar by Rob Barnaby

1979 WordPerfect by Bruce Bastian and Alan Ashton at Brigham Young University

1979 Hayes Modem

1979 EasyWriter for Apple II by John Draper

1979 TV-EDIT was used by Douglas Hofstadter to write ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach’

1979 Macintosh Project Started by Jef Raskin and included Brian Howard, Marc LeBrun, Burrell Smith, Joanna Hoffman, and Bud Tribble

1979 Steve Jobs visits XEROX PARC, as part of an investment agreement, organzied by Jef Raskin. This was to see what other companies were doing in the same space, it was not the revelation or theft it has come to be known as, since the Mac was already being designed to be a GUI system and the PARC work was not secret from the Apple employees



1980 ‘SPAM’. The term was used to describe users on BBSs and MUDs who repeat it a huge number of times to scroll other users’ text off the screen. It later came to be used on Usenet to mean excessive multiple postings

1980 ZX80 by Sinclair

1980 PC by IBM

1980 Floppy Disks become prevalent for personal computers

1980 Vydec1800 Series Word Processor by Exxon

1980 ENQUIRE proposed by Tim Berners-Lee

1980 USENET by Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis

1981 Raskin leaves the Macintosh project and  Steve Jobs takes over

1981 BITNET, EARN and NetNorth network university IBM mainframes, allowing text (mail,files, chat) to be shared by non-Arpanet institutions

1981 TPS (Technical Publishing Software) by David Boucher at Interleaf, allowed authors to write text and create graphics WYSIWYG

1981 First major use of Information Murals in Organizations by David Sibbet

1982 Adobe founded by John Warnock and Charles Geschke

1982 First ASCII emoticons :-) and :-( by Scott Fahlman at Carne­gie Mel­lon Uni­versity

1982 CD-ROM by Denon

1983 Viewtron by AT&T and Knight Ridder

1983 MILNET physically separated from ARPANET

1983 ThinkTank outliner for Apple II

1983 ARPANET switches to TCP/IP

1983 Lisa by Apple

1983 Word by Microsoft

1983 KMS (Knowledge Management System), a descendant of ZOG by Don McCracken and Rob Akscyn at Knowledge Systems (a spinoff from the Computer Science Department of Carnegie Mellon University.

1983 Hyperties by Ben Shneiderman at the University of Maryland

1983 1984 Macintosh Television Commercial by Apple

1984 Macintosh launched. In addition to the original contributors, the team also included Bill Atkinson Chris Espinosa, Joanna Hoffman, George Crow, Bruce Horn, Jerry Manock, Susan Kare, Andy Hertzfeld, and Daniel Kottke

1984 Desktop Publishing introduced by Macintosh hardware and Aldus and Adobe software

1984 MacWrite by Apple, included with Macintosh

1984 The Print Shop (desktop publishing software with libraries of clip-art and templates for household dot-matrix printers) by Brøderbund

1984 FidoNet bulletin board system software by Tom Jennings.

1984 LaserWriter by Apple

1984 Guide by Peter Brown at the University of Kent for Unix (1984), Macintosh (1986), and Windows (1987)

1984 ‘Cyberspace’ term coined by William Gibson in Neuromancer

1984 Organizer by David Potter at Psion

1984 PostScript by John Warnock, Charles Geschke, Doug Brotz, Ed Taft and Bill Paxton at Adobe, influenced by Interpress, developed at XEROX PARC

1984 MacroMind founded by Marc Canter, Jay Fenton and Mark Stephen Pierce

1984 PC Jr by IBM

1984 Notecards by Randall Trigg, Frank Halasz and Thomas Moran at XEROX PARC

1984 Highlighted Selectable Link by Ben Shneiderman and Dan Ostroff at University of Maryland

1984 TIES System by Ben Shneiderman at University of Maryland

1984 LaserJet by HP

1984 Text Messaging / SMS (short message service) developed by Franco-German GSM cooperation by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert.

1984 Filevision by Telos

1984 LaTeX by Leslie Lamport

1984 Zoomracks for Atari by Paul Heckel

1985 Symbolics Document Examiner by Janet Walker

1985 Pagemaker by Aldus, bought by Adobe in 1994

1985 StarWriter by Marco Börries at Star Division

1985 Intermedia by Norman Meyrowitz at Brown University

1985 Windows spearheaded by Bill Gates at Microsoft

1985 Write by Microsoft, included with Windows

1985 Amiga by Commodore

1985 Emacs General Public License by Richard Stallman, the first copyleft license

1985 TRICKLE by Turgut Kalfaoglu at Ege University, İzmir; BITNET-to-Internet gateway allows sharing of text and programs between two disparate networks

1986 Guide by OWL

1986 Harvard Graphics desktop business application by Software Publishing Corporation

1986 FrameMaker by Frame Technology, bought by Adobe 1995

1986 Hyperties commercial version by Cognetics Corporation

1986 Solid Ink Printing by Tektronix

1986 SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language)

1986 Uncle Roger by Judy Malloy released on Art Com Electronic Network on The Well

1987 PowerPoint created by Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin at Forethought Inc., bought by Microsoft same year and released as a Microsoft product 1989

1987 Amanda Goodenough’s children’s point and click stories in Hypercard published by Voyager

1987 MacroMind Director by MacroMind

1987 Storyspace by Jay David Bolter & Michael Joyce, maintained and distributed by Mark Bernstein of Eastgate Systems

1987 Unicode by Joe Becker from Xerox with Lee Collins and Mark Davis from Apple

1987 Franklin Spelling Ace by Franklin Electronic Publishers

1987 Knowledge Navigator visionary concept video published by Apple

1987 TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) “Poughkeepsie Principles”: text encoding guidelines for Humanities texts

1987 HyperCard by Bill Atkinson at Apple

1987 Hypertext’87 is first major conference on hypertext

1988 Microcosm by Wendy Hall, Andrew Fountain, Hugh Davis and Ian Heath

1988 NeXT Cube by NeXT

1988 IRC by Jarkko Oikarinen

1988 # (hashtag) and & (ampersand) used in IRC to label groups and topics (RFC 1459)

1988 Wolfram Mathematica by Stephen Wolfram

1988 Hypertext edition of Communications of the ACM using Hyperties by Ben Shneiderman

1988 Hypertext Hands-On! by Ben Shneiderman and Greg Kearsley, first commercial electronic book

1988 Reflections on NoteCards: seven issues for the next generation of hypermedia systems by Frank,G. Halasz (ac.paper)

1988 Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) by J. Romkey

1988 Breadcrumb Trail navigation metaphor in Hypergate by Mark Bernstein

1989 GRiDPad 1900, the first commercial tablet by GRiD Systems Corporation

1989 Robert Winter’s CD Companion to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, published by Voyager, he first viable commercial CD-ROM

1989 SuperCard by Bill Appleton at Silicon Beach Software

1989 Bidirectional Email-to-Fax Gateway hosted by UCC

1989 Mapping Hypertext: Analysis, Linkage, and Display of Knowledge for the Next Generation of On-Line Text and Graphics by Robert E. Horn



1990s T9 invented by Martin King and Cliff Kushler, co-founders of Tegic

1990s Compendium by Al Selvin and Maarten Sierhuis

1990 Archie, a tool for indexing FTP archives, considered to be the first Internet search engine, by Alan Emtage and Bill Heelan at McGill University/Concordia University in Montreal.

1990 Python programming language by Guido van Rossum

1990 Designing Hypermedia for Learning by David H. Jonassen and Heinz Mandl (editors) publish (Springer-Verlag, NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series, F: Computer and Systems Sciences, Vol. 67)  in which updated conference proceedings are annotated by the authors with typed hypertext links in the margins connecting passages between the articles.  The publisher’s webpage about the book is at

1991 Gopher protocol by the University of Minnesota (initial version of the protocol appeared in 1991, codified in 1993 as a RFC 1436)

1991 Seven Issues: Revisited Hypertext ‘91 Closing Plenary by Frank G. Halasz at Xerox Corporation (ac.paper)

1991 World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee becomes the first global hypertext system

1991 DocBook DTD by HaL Computer Systems and O’Reilly & Associates

1991 Camelot Project started as in at Adobe, later to become PDF

1991 PowerBook Laptops by Apple

1991 Aquanet by Catherine C. Marshall Frank G. Halasz Russell A. Rogers William C. Janssen Jr.

1991 Visual Basic by Microsoft

1991 Instant Update by ON Technology

1991 HTML  by Tim Berners-Lee, influenced by SGMLguid, an in-house markup language at CERN

1991 CURIA (now CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts) first corpus in Early Irish to be published on the World-Wide Web

1991 Expanded Books Project by The Voyager Company

1991 TeachText by Apple, included with System 7

1991 Liquid Information Philosophy by Frode Hegland with Sarah Walton

1992 First Text Message (SMS) is sent by Neil Papworth reading: “Merry Christmas” to Richard Jarvis at Vodafone

1992 Veronica a search engine system for the Gopher protocol by Steven Foster and Fred Barrie at the University of Nevada, Reno

1992 Lynx internet web browser by Lou Montulli, Michael Grobe, and Charles Rezac at the University of Kansas

1992 Frontier by Dave Winer at UserLand Software released on Mac

1992 Palm Computing founded by Jeff Hawkins,

1992 Hypertext fiction cover story by the New York Times Book Review

1992 Before Writing by Denise Schmandt-Besserat

1992 PDF by Adobe

1992 BBEdit by Rich Siegel at Bare Bones Software

1993 Mosaic Web Browser by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina at NCSA massively popularises the web

1993 Microsoft Word celebrates its 10th aniversary with 10 million Word users

1993 Encarta multimedia encyclopedia by Microsoft

1993 Hypermedia Encyclopedias sell more copies than print encyclopedias

1993 Newton PDA by Apple

1993 Open Agent Architecture (OAA) delegated agent framework by Adam Cheyer et al. at SRI International

1993 Georgia typeface designed by Matthew Carter and hinted by Tom Rickner for Microsoft

1994 PDF made freely available

1994 OpenType by Microsoft and Adobe

1994 Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) enabled internet communications between two routers directly by W. Simpson

1994 Netscape Navigator by Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen at Netscape Communications Corp

1994 Scripting News by Dave Winer

1994 Yahoo! founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo

1994 Amazon founded by Jeff Bezos

1994 World Wide Web Consortium founded

1994 PageMill by Seneca Inc., bought by Adobe one year later, discontinued 2000

1995 WordPad by Microsoft, included in Windows 95

1995 Netscape goes public and gains market value of almost $3B on first day of stock market trading

1995 The World Wide Web Handbook by Peter Flynn, first comprehensive book on HTML

1995 Ruby by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto

1995 Windows 95 by Microsoft

1995-1999 Emoji developed by Japanese mobile operators

1995 JavaScript by Brendan Eich

1995 AltaVista founded by Paul Flaherty, Louis Monier, Michael Burrows and Jeffrey Black

1996 CSS by Håkon Wium Lie and Bert Bos at the World Wide Web Consortium

1996 Palm OS PDAs including the Graffiti handwriting system

1996 Vaio by Sony

1996 OpenType by Adobe and Microsoft

1996 Anoto founded by Christer Fåhræus to provide digital pen capability to paper

1996 Hotmail by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, bought by Microsoft in 1997

1996 The Internet Archive by Brewster Kahle

1996 GoLive by GoNet Communication, Inc., bought by Adobe 1999

1996 TextEdit by Apple

1996 Live word count by Keith Martin, demonstrated in the Wordless word processor, first mainstream appearance Microsoft Word 98

1997 Yandex by Arkady Volozh and Ilya Segalovich

1997 Dreamweaver by Macromedia, bought by Adobe 2005

1997 Flash by Macromedia

1997 Jabberwacky released online by Rollo Carpenter, with development starting

1997 E-Paper by Barrett Comiskey, Joseph Jacobson and JD Albert at E Ink Corporation

1997 Newton cancelled by Apple

1997 iMac by Apple

1997 Unistroke by David Goldberg at Xerox PARC

1997 9000i Communicator by Nokia, the first mobile phone with a full keyboard

1997 OpenType by Microsoft

1998 iMac by Apple

1998 Can Computers Think? History and Status of the Debate. Seven posters. Industrial strength argumentation map by Robert E. Horn

1998 Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century Robert by E. Horn, comprehensive grammar, syntax, semantics of visual-verbal language Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century

1998 Fluid Links demo video at the ACM CHI conference byPolle T. Zellweger, Bay-Wei Chang, and Jock D. Mackinlay (possibly 1999)

1998 ‘SPAM’ in The New Oxford Dictionary of English

1998 Google founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin

1998 XML

1998 Netscape goes open source with the name Mozilla

1998 XML-RPC text-based networking protocol between apps running across operating systems

1998 Frontier by Dave Winer at UserLand Software released on Windows

1998 MathML by W3C

1998 @font-face by W3C

1998 AOL buys Netscape for $4B

1999 Open eBook

1999 RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9) the first version of RSS, by Dan Libby and Ramanathan V. Guha at Netscape

1999 RSS 0.91 by Dave Winer at UserLand


1999 Edit This Page by Dave Winer

1999 Code is Law  by Larry Lessig

1999 Mac OS X by Apple

1999 ActiveText: A Method for Creating Dynamic and Interactive Texts by Jason E. Lewis and Alex Weyers at Interval Research Corporation (ac. paper)

1999 Spatial Hypertext: An Alternative to Navigational and Semantic Links paper by Frank M. Shipman and Catherine C. Marshall



2000 OCR software is made available online for free

2000 1 billion indexable pages on the Web, estimated by NEC-RI and Inktomi

2000 ClearType by Microsoft

2000 CoolType by Adobe

2000 Riding the Bullet by Stephen King, the first mass-market e-book for encrypted download

2000 EverNote founded by Stepan Pachikov

2001 G4 Titanium PowerBook by Apple

2001 Creative Commons by Lawrence Lessig, Hal Abelson, and Eric Eldred

2001 Wikipedia by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger at Nupedia

2001 JSON by Douglas Crockford

2001  Douglas Adams’ speech about Virtual Graffiti held at the 3GSM World Congress

2002 Bibliotheca Alexandrina founded, the modern Library of Alexandria, with Ismail Serageldin as the founding director

2003 Android Inc. founded by Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears, and Chris White

2003 Keitai Shousetsu, first cell phone novel (Deep Love, Yoshi)

2003 The Legal Deposit Libraries Act widens the definition of what publishers should send to the libraries to include digital publications, pending further regulation

2003 WordPress Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little

2003 Ulysses by Max Seelemann and Marcus Fehn

2004 Facebook founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes

2004 First hypertext format full length articles accepted at ACM’s Hypertext Conference

2004 First hypertext format article at ACM’s Document Engineering conference by James Blustein and Mona Noor

2004  Institute for the Future of the Book founded by Bob Stein

2004 Tag Cloud at Flickr, Technorati, WordPress Plugins and more

2005 Pages by Apple

2005 Markdown by John Gruber collaboration with Aaron Swartz

2006 Time Person of the Year is ‘You’

2005 Writely by programmers Sam Schillace, Steve Newman and Claudia Carpenter at Upstartle

2006 Upstartle bought by Google

2006 Google Docs by Google

2006 Twitter founded by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams at Twitter

2006 One Laptop Per Child by Nicholas Negroponte

2006 HyperScope Project

2006 Hyperwords Project

2006 Office Open XML by Microsoft

2006 Debategraph by Peter Baldwin and David Price

2006 Gamer Theory by McKenzie Wark’s, the first networked book, produced by the Institute for the Future of the Book

2006 Dialogue Mapping: Creating Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems by Jeff Conklin

2007 Hashtag by Chris Messina (name by Stowe Boyd)

2007 iPhone by Apple Inc.

2007 Kindle by Amazon

2007 Scrivener by Keith Blount at Literature & Latte

2007 EPUB by IDPF

2008 MacBook Air by Apple

2008 Last Stable Build of Netscape Navigator

2009 Like Button by Facebook

2009 Webfonts by Typekit

2009 OmmWriter by Herraiz Soto & Co

2009 iPhone Copy & Paste by Apple



2010 Thumbs Up Emoji

2010 Retina Display by Apple

2010 iA Writer by Oliver Reichenstein

2010 iPad by Apple

2010 Siri bought and released by Apple, developed by Dag Kittlaus, Tom Gruber, and Adam Cheyer

2010 Emoji ratified as part of Unicode 6.0

2011 iMessage by Apple

2011 ByWord by Metaclassy

2011 Annual Future of Text Symposium by Frode Hegland launched

2011 Liquid by Frode Hegland at The Liquid Information Company

2011 Siri assistant released as part of the iPhone 4S by Apple

2011 Swype invented by Cliff Kushler allying users to drag their fingers on a virtual keyboard to connect the dots between letters in a word

2011 ClaiMaker by Li, G.; Uren, V; Motta, E.; Buckingham Shum, S. and Domingue, J.

2012 Knowledge Graph by Google

2012 Muse by Adobe

2012 The Web-Extended Mind by Paul Smart. (ac. paper)

2012 Google Now Assistant launched by Google

2012 LiquidText by Craig Tashman

2012 Outlook by Microsoft replaces Hotmail

2013 Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations further define the digital elements of the Legal Deposit Libraries Act and lead to large-scale on-going transfer of e-journals and e-books to the legal deposit libraries for posterity

2013 First Full-Scale Harvest of the UK Domain by the UK Web Archive ,using the Non-Print Legal Deposit Regulations

2013 Ulysses III (major rewrite) by Max Seelemann and Marcus Fehn

2014 Xanadu by Ted Nelson

2014 Alexa assistant released by Amazon

2014 Cortana assistant released by Microsoft

2014 AppleScript by Apple

2014 Author early release by Frode Hegland at The Liquid Information Company

2014 Augmented Writing by Textio

2015 Notion by Ivan Zhao at Notion Labs

2015 Watch by Apple

2016 Reactions for iMessage by Apple

2014 Author reboot by Frode Hegland at The Liquid Information Company with coding by Jacob Hazelgrove

2016 Universal Clipboard by Apple

2016 Viv Labs, developed by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, acquired by Samsung

2017 Web Annotations Standardised by the W3C Web Annotation Working Group

2018 Bixby Marketplace, an open assistant ecosystem based on Viv Labs Technology, launched by Samsung

2019 Reader by Frode Hegland at The Liquid Information Company



2020 Muse by Adobe discontinued

2020 Flash by Adobe discontinued

2020 HyLighter LLC plans to release a thought processor

2021 Four Internets by Dame Wendy Hall and Kieron O’Hara