Library@Kendriya Vidyalaya Pattom

Where Minds meet and Ideas pop up !

How to Have a Beautiful Mind by Edward De Bono

How to Have a Beautiful Mind


Edward De Bono

Library Call No: 158.1  DE –H

(Visit the Library to read the Book)

By Corné MacKenzie

Ever visit a website that looks really attractive, with appealing images and colour all to stimulate your interest, but quickly discover that it’s ‘full of emptiness’ and lacking substance?

In his book, How to have a Beautiful Mind, Edward de Bono highlights the value of a beautiful and interesting mind as being greater than just a pretty face, not able to sustain interest for long.

A “makeover for your mind” will be useful as you consider creating an online and personal brand for your business and yourself.

Avid De Bono followers will see this book as a one-stop framework reminder of most of his other work. Newcomers to the guru’s wares will find it interesting and easy enough to use as a quick reference to his brilliant ideas.

Nine of the eighteen chapters of the book focus predominantly on the art of conversation. Becoming aware of sweeping generalizations, spotting errors in logic and working with extrapolations aid the art of skillfully interacting with another. Understanding how your customers think and feel can be done with greater awareness and yield quality information that you can incorporate in a successful branding strategy.

The other half of the book highlights strategies for thinking effectively – how could any book by De Bono NOT contain stuff on thinking? His parallel thinking strategy, materialized in the 6-hat method is outlined in one chapter, while others look at concepts and why to bother with them, generating alternatives, various levels and types of values and positioning, choice and first reaction to emotions and feelings.

How can skillful conversation strategies boost your online branding? It helps you to make quality contact with the people that matter: your customers, suppliers, employees and anyone else you consider key to your business. Quality interactions translate to better understanding of the needs of those to whom you wish to cater. This loops into better communication of your unique offering.

It’s accessible and easy-to-read, so why not check it out and let it “make over your mind”?


Reviewed by

Corné MacKenzie


Filed under: Book of the week, ,

The man who loved Books too much by Allison Hoover Bartlett



Allison Hoover Bartlett (Riverhead Books)

Library Call No. 002  BAR-M

(Visit the Library to read the book)

Between 1999 and 2003, John Gilkey used dozens of credit card numbers acquired from his department store job to steal more than $100,000 worth of rare books before being caught and sent to jail, partly through the effort of one bookseller named Ken Sanders. When Gilkey and Sanders’s story found its way to the journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett, she came to see it as “not only about a collection of crimes but also about people’s intimate and complex and sometimes dangerous relationship to books.”


Allison Hoover Bartlett’s Web Site

In “The Man Who Loved Books Too Much,” Bartlett uses these two men as a starting point for a series of vignettes in which the love of books turns to madness. Her examples range from the merely eccentric to the sociopathic, from the professor in Nebraska who was forced to sleep on a cot in his kitchen to make room for his 90 tons of books to the 19th-century Spanish monk who strangled one man and stabbed nine others in order to raid their libraries.

Bartlett’s sketches of bibliomania are breezily drawn and often fascinating. If they ultimately fail to cohere into something more, the fault rests at the book’s center, with Gilkey himself. It’s not that his actions aren’t interesting, but that they don’t mean any of the things Bartlett wants them to mean. Time and again she asks “what it was about books that made him continually risk jail time for them.” Yet when we learn that as a boy, Gilkey once emerged from Montgomery Ward with a pilfered catcher’s mitt that didn’t even fit his hand, the riddle is already solved. Gilkey’s earliest experiment with credit card fraud netted him “a watch, a pizza and a poster of the movie ‘Psycho.’ ” His first two trips to jail resulted from his writing bad checks to buy foreign cur­rency and pay off gambling debts. Throughout his interviews with Bartlett, he speaks of “free” air travel, hotel rooms and meals. In other words, Gilkey is not a biblio­maniac whose need for books eventually drives him to steal, but a kleptomaniac whose need to steal eventually drives him to books. As such, he is a difficult figure around which to build a work about “literary obsession.”

There is a related problem with the thief’s antagonist, Ken Sanders, the “rare-book dealer and self-styled sleuth” who helped to track him down. Bartlett seems nearly as puzzled by Sanders’s interest in the crimes as she is by the crimes themselves. But throughout the period of Gilkey’s spree, Sanders was the security chairman of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America; it was his task to protect members from theft and fraud. His performance in that job seems diligent but not especially crazed. Mainly, he sends out e-mail.

That the author recognizes the thematic limits of these men is evident by the attention she gives to her third leading character: herself. Bartlett’s attempts at New Journalistic self-implication aren’t always convincing, but they provide some riveting moments, as when Bartlett and Gilkey tour a bookstore he once victimized while the owner looks on in helpless rage. In this scene, we glimpse Gilkey’s true strangeness, which is only incidentally related to books.

Given the problem at the heart of “The Man Who Loved Books Too Much,” it is a testament to Bartlett’s skill that it reads as well as it does. “Every man must die,” explained that murderous Spanish monk, “but good books must be conserved.” His story and others Bartlett tells really are about “intimate and complex and sometimes dangerous” relationships to books. Gilkey’s story, on the other hand, is mostly about the crimes.

Christopher R. Beha is an editor at Harper’s Magazine and the author of “The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else.”


Reviewed by

Christopher R. Beha is an editor at Harper’s Magazine and the author of “The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else.”


Filed under: Book of the week, ,

A Brief History of the Future—The Origins of the Internet

A Brief History of the Future—The Origins of the Internet

by John Naughton

Phoenix, London

Call No. 004.678  NAU-T

Visit the Library to read the Book

This is a well-written book by a well-known Irish academic and journalist, which charts the growth of the Internet from a 1950s military project to the pervasive networking infrastructure that dominates the IT world today. It is relevant to the readership of this journal because it charts the growth of the technology that underpins the IP world—and it gives a sound understanding of the culture and approach that led to the development of the Internet as we know it.
Naughton takes the reader from the inception of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) through most of the major developments such as packet switching, mail, TCP/IP, and the Web, not only covering the technology, but also providing insights into the background of the Internet pioneers and the political environment.
The book is divided into three major sections, the first of which is largely concerned with scene setting and is aimed at bringing those less familiar with the subject area up to speed. In the first chapter, Naughton likens the evolution of the "Net" to that of amateur radio, moving on in succeeding chapters to cover basic technology and to provide some perception of scale and rate of growth.
The second part of the book covers the growth of the Internet up to the early 1990s. This starts by looking at the origins of the ARPA project, noting the influence of MIT and important figures such as Vannevar Bush, Norbert Weiner, and J.C.R Licklider. Naughton describes how ARPA was initiated and its relationship with NASA and academia, highlighting the desire to provide time-sharing systems and the breakthrough concept of the Interface Message Processor (IMP) as a solution to the "n-squared" problem. This is followed by two chapters that discuss the adoption of packet switching as the underlying technology, following its initial proposal by Paul Baran and further development by Donald Davies’ team in the UK.
Naughton next examines how e-mail became the first "killer application" that drove up Internet usage, even telling the reader where the use of the ubiquitous "@" symbol comes from. He then considers the maturing network during the 1970s, discussing the formulation of the first Request For Comments (RFCs), the development of the gateway concept, and the evolution of TCP/IP. The discussion leaves the network area, concentrating on the evolution of UNIX and its impact, stressing the role of AT&T’s regulatory situation. Then Naughton considers how this accelerated the development of USENET.
In a chapter called "The Great Unwashed," Naughton discusses the popularization of computing and networking, through the availability of the PC and the evolution of readily available file transfer tools such as X-Modem and the creation of bulletin board systems such as fidonet. He then considers the development of Open Source, telling the story of Linux and its derivation from MINIX.
The third section of the book deals with the emergence of the World Wide Web, tracing it back through the original ideas of Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson, to its ultimate development by Berners-Lee at CERN. He links this to the subsequent development of Mosaic at NCSA and shows the dramatic impact this had on Internet growth.
Naughton concludes his book by looking at the prognosis for the "Net." Here he refuses to try to predict the future; instead he analyzes the forces that will drive the future of the Internet and discusses their impact in the past and hence their potential impact. At the end of the book, he provides notes and references for each chapter, a short section on the sources he consulted, and a comprehensive glossary.
I found this book provided excellent insights into the development of the Internet, adding a lot of perspective to the engineering field I currently work in. Naughton places appropriate emphasis on the technical, personal, commercial, and political factors that have steered its evolution. He is not afraid to disturb the reader’s preconceptions by looking at things from unusual angles, and he emphasises the importance of timing. This is apparent when he points out that according to many sources, most of the important inventions around the Internet have come from graduate students, rather than the professors they work for. He similarly recounts the story that AT&T turned down the opportunity to run the "Net" in the early 1970s and reflects the view that if the Internet had not existed we could not invent it now.
This is an excellent read (it was nominated for the Aventis Prize in 2000), which helps the reader understand the How, When, Where, and Why of the Internet’s development. It covers most of the major milestones in the evolution of our discipline and is very well-written.
The Author
John Naughton is Professor of Public Understanding of Technology at the Open University, and he writes a weekly column in The Observer Business Section, covering important developments and trends in the IT industry. He describes himself as a "Control Engineer with a strong interest in systems analysis and computer networks" and is a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge.


Reviewed by

Edward Smith, BT, UK


The Internet Protocol Journal – Volume 8, Number 2

Filed under: Book of the week, ,

Library Bulletin January 2011

Library Bulletin Vol 3 Issue 1, Jan 2011

Filed under: Library Bulletin, ,

TLS Books of the Year 2010

A selection of this year’s picks.


One of the events of the past year was the appearance in English of Poison, Shadow, and Farewell, the final volume of Javier Marías’s trilogy Your Face Tomorrow, again translated from Spanish by the amazing Margaret Jull Costa (Vintage). In a previous TLS Books of the Year, Margaret Drabble wrote, “We wait uneasily for volume three”. Both attentiveness and foreboding were, it turns out, superbly justified.

Susan Bernofsky continues her traversal of Robert Walser with translations from his hitherto undecipherable Microscripts (New Directions), written with a pencil in tiny characters on bits of scrap paper. As Walter Benjamin noted in a 1929 essay included in this volume, “Walser begins where the fairy tales stop. ‘And if they have not died, they live there still.’ Walser shows how they live”.

Ever since getting happily tripped up by The Waste Land, I tend to skip the end notes of a book of poetry. But those for Timothy Donnelly’s The Cloud Corporation (Wave) aren’t easy to ignore. They refer, among other sources, to Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer, H. L. Mencken, Schopenhauer, Bruce Springsteen, Gibbon, Flaubert’s Diary of a Madman, and, in one case, to Osama bin Laden and the theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies. None of this would matter, of course, if the broad range of references weren’t matched by the vaulting agility of the author’s mind. This is an extraordinary collection – the poetry of the future, here, today.


Barry Hannah’s death at the start of the year passed with little notice in this country, where his work has long been unavailable. The short story was his best form, and Airships (Grove), an ear-perfect array of voices from the American South, was his best book, worth searching the internet for. Harry Mulisch died recently to slightly more notice: The Assault (Pantheon) remains one of the key novels about the Second World War. The death of Henriette Binger (b.1893) happened back in 1977. She was no writer but the mother to one, Roland Barthes, whose Mourning Diary (Hill and Wang) has just emerged into print. Precise and touching memories intersect with spare and at times desperate notes on time, death and grief, written despite “the fear of making literature out of it”. The play I most enjoyed reading this year was Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park (Nick Hern).


Exhibition catalogues can be a wonderful storehouse of good writing, clever ideas and stunning images. Yet we often overlook them, as if they were as ephemeral as the shows they commemorate. This year the catalogue produced to accompany the first of a series of five exhibitions planned for the Capitoline Museum in Rome, I giorni di Roma (The heyday of Rome), stands out. Entitled L’età della conquista (The age of conquest; Skirà) it includes excellent essays on Roman culture in the last two centuries bc, and marvellous photographs of the art of the period, familiar and unfamiliar (including some extraordinary terracotta sculpture, discovered in the 1950s in a villa in the Abruzzo, quite unknown to me).

Equally impressive is Chaos and Classicism, the catalogue of an exhibition at the Guggenheim, New York, focusing on ancient themes in the art of the 1920s and 30s. It brilliantly disposes of the common misconception that Modernism turned its back on Greece and Rome.


I very much enjoyed and admired Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes (Chatto), gripping and surprising. I also very much enjoyed Rowan Williams’s Dostoevsky: Language, faith and fiction (Continuum), both because he is an excellent literary critic, and because understanding Dostoevsky’s Christianity is essential to understanding the form of the novels. My choices in fiction are Neel Mukherjee’s sharp, disturbing and precisely written novel, A Life Apart (Constable and Robinson), about a twentieth-century Indian in England and a nineteenth-century Englishwoman in India, and Yiyun Li’s new stories, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl (Fourth Estate). And I am reading and rereading Seamus Heaney’s Human Chain (Faber), in which every word is at once a surprise and exactly the right word.


I enjoyed two remarkable books on Ottoman lands this year. Eland, consistently Britain’s most interesting small independent publisher, has just published a long overdue translation of the work of the greatest world-traveller of his day, Evilya Chelebi. Chelebi was the widest-eyed, most intensely curious, inquisitive and prolific travel writer the Ottoman world ever produced, and The Ottoman Traveller records and preserves an entire world otherwise lost to history. A proper edition of his massive work has long been needed, and Robert Dankoff magnificently translates the highlights.

James Mather’s Pashas is the first full-length study since 1935 of the Levant Company, the organization which oversaw both England’s trade and diplomacy with the Ottoman world, and which supervised the remarkably successful relationship between the two worlds. It was the first non-Christian environment in which Englishmen ever established a major presence, and an important but largely forgotten precursor to the centuries of empire ahead. It is a fascinating subject, and Mather’s work is a major contribution, as well as a vital corrective to the wrong-headed readings of intellectual Islamophobia such as V. S. Naipaul, Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington, all of whom have manufactured entirely negative images of one of the most varied of empires, and misrepresented Europe’s relationship to it.

I don’t share Christopher Hitchens’s politics, or his views on Islam, but I loved his funny and moving memoir, Hitch-22 (Atlantic), which had me laughing out loud at a rate of once every other page.


I have been living through the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, led by the ceramicist Edmund de Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes (Chatto). This memoir takes us through the rise and fall of the once powerful Ephrussi banking family, from the Ukraine to Vienna to Paris to Tunbridge Wells, an extraordinary and touching journey with a backdrop glittering with images from Proust and Zola and Klimt. This is the history of two world wars told through the unlikely fate of a small collection of netsuke which astonishingly survived the Holocaust. This chronicle prompted the reading of Joseph Roth’s Radetsky March (translated by Michael Hofmann; Granta), which in turn led on to Robert Musil’s The Man without Qualities (translated by Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike; Picador), unfinished by him and as yet by me. These are remarkable works of fiction which portray from different angles the world the Ephrussis knew. A satisfying trilogy.


The great realist novelists from Stendhal to Proust knew that individual lives are shaped by historical forces, and that those forces show up in the texture of the intimately personal. This vision, which entered into crisis with the emergence of Modernism, migrated later in the twentieth century from the heartlands of literary Europe to the non-European and post-colonial worlds. The Israeli author David Grossman’s magnificent To the End of the Land (Cape) reinvents this high realist lineage from outside the West, which today seems the only place where it can flourish. In his astonishing protagonist Ora, he gives us a figure fit to tread in the footsteps of Brecht’s Mother Courage.


I read several works this year by the Argentine novelist César Aira who follows a curious writing procedure: what he composes one day cannot be changed the next. “La fuga hacia adelante” he calls it – the escape forward: the story must move ahead, never backward, forcing him to come up with ever-new ideas and plot twists. The results are apt to be mixed – hit-or-miss confections that rely heavily on chance occurrences and the author’s raw imagination. But the procedure has produced at least one masterpiece: An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter (New Directions), a short, unpredictable confection that manages to be both a roaring adventure story and a rumination on the chasm between reality and the reconstruction of reality in a work of art.


Saul Bellow, as one might have expected from his novels, was a wonderful letter writer. That his Letters (Penguin) do not quite come into the Van Gogh or Samuel Beckett category may only be due to the fact that so many of his early letters, especially to his childhood friend and fellow writer, Isaac Rosenfeld, have been lost, and the best letters are invariably those an artist writes before he has found fame and fortune. But he could not put pen to paper without a hilarious yet apt image appearing on the page: “Will I read your book?” he asks John Cheever. “Would I accept a free trip to Xanadu with Helen of Troy as my valet?”. “Havel and I chatted for about three minutes”, he writes of an official visit by the Czech President to New York, “and then were separated as if we were tomato seeds in the digestive tract.”

“If the twentieth century was the century of Proust, then the twenty-first may well turn out to be the century of Queneau”, declared the Director of the French Institute on the occasion of a conference in honour of the great translator of Raymond Queneau and Robert Pinget, Barbara Wright, who died in 2009. Ever keen to keep up with the zeitgeist, I decided to read all the Queneau novels I had not yet read, and very soon I was thinking: You know, she might just be right.


Henry Ford’s vast project of building a city in the Amazonian jungle to provide his car factories with a reliable supply of rubber was greeted as a heroic civilizing mission when it started and damned as catastrophic Western hubris when it failed. The saga remains an irresistible parable, both tragic and comic. I cannot stop thinking of Ford’s homesick managers staring glumly at the vultures overhead and dreaming of the pigeons back in Detroit. Greg Grandin’s wonderful Fordlandia (Icon) is alive to every nuance of the story but is sparing with the condescension of posterity, reminding us that Brazil’s own loggers and soy farmers are ploughing the same cruel furrows today.

Roberto Calasso upset some professional academics, not for the first time, with his Tiepolo Pink (Bodley Head). His bravura can look like an eccentric, even self-indulgent substitute for painstaking scholarship. Yet his iconographic riffs, here no less than in his celebrated essays on Kafka and classical mythology, pick up much that has gone unnoticed. In his own unique fashion, he takes us into unsuspected depths and brings us closer to understanding why Tiepolo is our last Old Master.


Among the books which have found a particular place in my mind, and heart, this year are several by dear colleagues at Princeton. These include The Honor Code: How moral revolutions happen (Norton) by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Appiah is a beautiful stylist, who ranges over an extraordinary array of topics in which the notion of “honour” may be relevant either to an individual or a society. He muses on the shift of support for Chinese foot-binding, less because of the infliction of pain on women but a sense of national pride and the breakdown of the Chinese elite. The demise of the duel also coincides with the abandonment of the idea of the “gentlemanly creed of equality-within-superiority”. The honour described as “quaint” by Andrew Marvell in “To His Coy Mistress” is of a slightly different stripe, referring to “chastity” or “purity”. Nigel Smith’s Andrew Marvell: The chameleon (Yale) is a brilliant account of the life of this slippery poetpolitician who so adroitly dealt with shifting political realities during and after the English Civil War. The Irish Civil War is the backdrop for Michael Wood’s truly exhilarating Yeats and Violence (Oxford) which has, at its core, a close reading of “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” and its confrontation of the fact that “We, who seven years ago / Talked of honour and of truth, / Shriek with pleasure if we show / The weasel’s twist, the weasel’s tooth”. In “Songs for Senility” from his new collection, By the Numbers (Copper Canyon), James Richardson presents us with a rewriting of another Yeats poem, “A Dialogue of Self and Soul”. Like so many of Richardson’s poems it’s funny, fragile, fierce, fastidious, flighty, frank.


The novels that most impressed me this year were both brilliant re-imaginings of classic texts. Blake Morrison’s The Last Weekend (Chatto) is an updating of Othello, set in contemporary England, and told from the viewpoint of Iago, renamed Ian Goade. Ian’s long rivalry with his more successful friend Olly comes to a terrifying crisis on a country-house weekend. Philip Roth’s Nemesis (Cape) is an account of a polio epidemic in Newark in the summer of 1944, and a profound dialogue with Camus’s The Plague, which makes a cholera epidemic in Oran in the early 1940s an existential fable about the struggle for meaning in an absurd universe. A few reviewers picked up on the Othello parallels, but virtually all ignored Roth’s debt to Camus. It must be frustrating to pay literary homage to a great work when nobody notices you have done it.


Some of the best writing this year was in the theatre. Certain witty plays were standalone readable after (or instead of) the event, including D. C. Jackson’s My Romantic History (Faber), Nina Raine’s Tribes (Nick Hern) and my friend Liz Lochhead’s new version of Molière’s L’École des femmes, Educating Agnes (Nick Hern). Words into Action: Finding the life of the play (Nick Hern), by august theatre director William Gaskill, is a fastidiously lucid and frank set of essays packed with practical advice (“As I say to my actors ten times a day: ‘Anger is the easiest emotion to express. Find something else’”), useful observations (“Most plays can be done perfectly adequately without scenery, though not without costume or props”), and acute close readings of particular speeches (“He even says ‘From whose bourn no traveller returns’, which he of all people knows to be untrue”). There are particularly interesting thoughts here too on Chekhov, Brecht and Beckett.


Amy Sackville’s The Still Point (Portobello), a story of turn-of-the-century arctic pioneering and contemporary emotional frozen states, has an Eliotic calm that seems almost uncanny in a debut writer, and a narrative voice that’s subtle and original. Ciaran Carson’s originality in the novel form is often overlooked, presumably because he’s primarily known as a poet; The Pen Friend (Blackstaff), with its unlikely fusion of pens, perfumes and politics, is one of his most arresting fictional cocktails. I also loved Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies (Hamish Hamilton), three novels fused into one ignited tragicomic tour de force. Finally, who knew the weight of history and the foulness of the slave trade could be transformed into, of all things, a hot-air balloon ride? Like a liberating piece of jazz, and with astonishing, near-heroic buoyancy in its communal voice, Nii Ayikwei Parkes’s poetry sequence, Ballast: A remix (Tall-Lighthouse), literally does the impossible.


This has been a banner year. Graham Farmelo’s The Strangest Man (Faber), a biography of Paul Dirac, is masterly. Some of the most complex but decisive concepts in modern physics and mathematics are set out with lucidity and concise elegance. An almost miraculous period in the history of science is brought to life against its human and political background.

Penguin’s reissue of Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin, brilliantly translated by Michael Hofmann, makes available one of the great novels of the past century. An almost unbearably intense challenge to its readers.

The two-volume Texts of Early Greek Philosophy (Cambridge), edited and presented by Daniel W. Graham, are a monumental but accessible feat. Here, in a finely printed and bilingual version, are the hours of morning in Western thought. Once Parmenides equated thought and being, the long journey had begun. (But why banish Heidegger from the generous bibliographies?)


My history book of the year is Neil MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects (Allen Lane). MacGregor takes as his emblem Dürer’s “Rhinoceros” – the picture is entirely convincing and yet hopelessly wrong, for Dürer had never seen a rhinoceros. MacGregor recognizes that historians of lost worlds can hope to do no better; but they can aspire to do as well. Like Dürer, MacGregor succeeds far beyond all reasonable expectations. I also loved Andrew Graham-Dixon’s Caravaggio (Allen Lane). The evidence for Caravaggio’s life is fragmentary – primarily a series of court cases involving sex and violence – but Graham-Dixon turns the very recalcitrance of the material into an enthralling read, and he makes the paintings speak with astonishing eloquence. Graham-Dixon is first-rate on Counter-Reformation spirituality, but, surprisingly, he doesn’t seem to have read enough about the history of sex – there’s no reference to Michael Rocke’s Forbidden Friendships or Tessa Storey’s Carnal Commerce. Was Caravaggio really a pious pimp, as Graham-Dixon suggests? Read the book, and decide for yourself.



Filed under: Book of the week,

Date sheets for CBSE Main Exams 2011

Source: CBSE

Filed under: Downloads, ,

Information Management: A Proposal

A hand conversion to HTML of the original MacWord (or Word for Mac?) document written in March 1989 and later redistributed unchanged apart from the date added in May 1990. Provided for historical interest only. The diagrams are a bit dotty, but available in versioins linked below. The text has not been changed, even to correct errors such as misnumbered figures or unfinished references.

This document was an attempt to persuade CERN management that a global hypertext system was in CERN’s interests. Note that the only name I had for it at this time was "Mesh" — I decided on "World Wide Web" when writing the code in 1990.

Other versions which are available are:

©Tim Berners-Lee 1989, 1990, 1996, 1998. All rights reserved.


Tim Berners-Lee, CERN
March 1989, May 1990

This proposal concerns the management of general information about accelerators and experiments at CERN. It discusses the problems of loss of information about complex evolving systems and derives a solution based on a distributed hypertext system.

A circles and arrows diagram relating concepts discussed in the paper


Many of the discussions of the future at CERN and the LHC era end with the question – ªYes, but how will we ever keep track of such a large project?º This proposal provides an answer to such questions. Firstly, it discusses the problem of information access at CERN. Then, it introduces the idea of linked information systems, and compares them with less flexible ways of finding information.

It then summarises my short experience with non-linear text systems known as ªhypertextº, describes what CERN needs from such a system, and what industry may provide. Finally, it suggests steps we should take to involve ourselves with hypertext now, so that individually and collectively we may understand what we are creating.

Losing Information at CERN

CERN is a wonderful organisation. It involves several thousand people, many of them very creative, all working toward common goals. Although they are nominally organised into a hierarchical management structure,this does not constrain the way people will communicate, and share information, equipment and software across groups.

The actual observed working structure of the organisation is a multiply connected "web" whose interconnections evolve with time. In this environment, a new person arriving, or someone taking on a new task, is normally given a few hints as to who would be useful people to talk to. Information about what facilities exist and how to find out about them travels in the corridor gossip and occasional newsletters, and the details about what is required to be done spread in a similar way. All things considered, the result is remarkably successful, despite occasional misunderstandings and duplicated effort.

A problem, however, is the high turnover of people. When two years is a typical length of stay, information is constantly being lost. The introduction of the new people demands a fair amount of their time and that of others before they have any idea of what goes on. The technical details of past projects are sometimes lost forever, or only recovered after a detective investigation in an emergency. Often, the information has been recorded, it just cannot be found.

If a CERN experiment were a static once-only development, all the information could be written in a big book. As it is, CERN is constantly changing as new ideas are produced, as new technology becomes available, and in order to get around unforeseen technical problems. When a change is necessary, it normally affects only a small part of the organisation. A local reason arises for changing a part of the experiment or detector. At this point, one has to dig around to find out what other parts and people will be affected. Keeping a book up to date becomes impractical, and the structure of the book needs to be constantly revised.

The sort of information we are discussing answers, for example, questions like

  • Where is this module used?
  • Who wrote this code? Where does he work?
  • What documents exist about that concept?
  • Which laboratories are included in that project?
  • Which systems depend on this device?
  • What documents refer to this one?

The problems of information loss may be particularly acute at CERN, but in this case (as in certain others), CERN is a model in miniature of the rest of world in a few years time. CERN meets now some problems which the rest of the world will have to face soon. In 10 years, there may be many commercial solutions to the problems above, while today we need something to allow us to continue.

Linked information systems

In providing a system for manipulating this sort of information, the hope would be to allow a pool of information to develop which could grow and evolve with the organisation and the projects it describes. For this to be possible, the method of storage must not place its own restraints on the information. This is why a "web" of notes with links (like references) between them is far more useful than a fixed hierarchical system. When describing a complex system, many people resort to diagrams with circles and arrows. Circles and arrows leave one free to describe the interrelationships between things in a way that tables, for example, do not. The system we need is like a diagram of circles and arrows, where circles and arrows can stand for anything.

We can call the circles nodes, and the arrows links. Suppose each node is like a small note, summary article, or comment. I’m not over concerned here with whether it has text or graphics or both. Ideally, it represents or describes one particular person or object. Examples of nodes can be

  • People
  • Software modules
  • Groups of people
  • Projects
  • Concepts
  • Documents
  • Types of hardware
  • Specific hardware objects

The arrows which links circle A to circle B can mean, for example, that A…

  • depends on B
  • is part of B
  • made B
  • refers to B
  • uses B
  • is an example of B

These circles and arrows, nodes and links, have different significance in various sorts of conventional diagrams:

Nodes are
Arrows mean

Family tree
"Is parent of"

Dataflow diagram
Software modules"
Passes data to"

"Depends on"

PERT chart
"Must be done before"

Organisational chart
"Reports to"

The system must allow any sort of information to be entered. Another person must be able to find the information, sometimes without knowing what he is looking for.

In practice, it is useful for the system to be aware of the generic types of the links between items (dependences, for example), and the types of nodes (people, things, documents..) without imposing any limitations.

The problem with trees

Many systems are organised hierarchically. The CERNDOC documentation system is an example, as is the Unix file system, and the VMS/HELP system. A tree has the practical advantage of giving every node a unique name. However, it does not allow the system to model the real world. For example, in a hierarchical HELP system such as VMS/HELP, one often gets to a leaf on a tree such as


only to find a reference to another leaf: "Please see


and it is necessary to leave the system and re-enter it. What was needed was a link from one node to another, because in this case the information was not naturally organised into a tree.

Another example of a tree-structured system is the uucp News system (try ‘rn’ under Unix). This is a hierarchical system of discussions ("newsgroups") each containing articles contributed by many people. It is a very useful method of pooling expertise, but suffers from the inflexibility of a tree. Typically, a discussion under one newsgroup will develop into a different topic, at which point it ought to be in a different part of the tree. (See Fig 1).

From mcvax!uunet!pyrdc!pyrnj!rutgers!bellcore!geppetto!duncan Thu Mar...
Article 93 of alt.hypertext:
Path: cernvax!mcvax!uunet!pyrdc!pyrnj!rutgers!bellcore!geppetto!duncan
>From: (Scott Duncan)
Newsgroups: alt.hypertext
Subject: Re: Threat to free information networks
Message-ID: <>
Date: 10 Mar 89 21:00:44 GMT
References: <1784.2416BB47@isishq.FIDONET.ORG> <3437@uhccux.uhcc...
Reply-To: (Scott Duncan)
Organization: Computer Technology Transfer, Bellcore
Lines: 18

Doug Thompson has written what I felt was a thoughtful article on
censorship -- my acceptance or rejection of its points is not
particularly germane to this posting, however.

In reply Greg Lee has somewhat tersely objected.

My question (and reason for this posting) is to ask where we might
logically take this subject for more discussion.  Somehow alt.hypertext
does not seem to be the proper place.

Would people feel it appropriate to move to alt.individualism or even
one of the soc groups.  I am not so much concerned with the specific
issue of censorship of rec.humor.funny, but the views presented in
Greg's article.

Speaking only for myself, of course, I am...
Scott P. Duncan ( OR ...!bellcore!ctt!duncan)
                (Bellcore, 444 Hoes Lane  RRC 1H-210, Piscataway, NJ...)
                (201-699-3910 (w)   201-463-3683 (h))

Fig 1. An article in the UUCP News scheme.

The Subject field allows notes on the same topic to be linked together within a "newsgroup". The name of the newsgroup (alt.hypertext) is a hierarchical name. This particular note is expresses a problem with the strict tree structure of the scheme: this discussion is related to several areas. Note that the "References", "From" and "Subject" fields can all be used to generate links.

The problem with keywords

Keywords are a common method of accessing data for which one does not have the exact coordinates. The usual problem with keywords, however, is that two people never chose the same keywords. The keywords then become useful only to people who already know the application well.

Practical keyword systems (such as that of VAX/NOTES for example) require keywords to be registered. This is already a step in the right direction. A linked system takes this to the next logical step. Keywords can be nodes which stand for a concept. A keyword node is then no different from any other node. One can link documents, etc., to keywords. One can then find keywords by finding any node to which they are related. In this way, documents on similar topics are indirectly linked, through their key concepts. A keyword search then becomes a search starting from a small number of named nodes, and finding nodes which are close to all of them.

It was for these reasons that I first made a small linked information system, not realising that a term had already been coined for the idea: "hypertext".

A solution: Hypertext

Personal Experience with Hypertext

In 1980, I wrote a program for keeping track of software with which I was involved in the PS control system. Called Enquire, it allowed one to store snippets of information, and to link related pieces together in any way. To find information, one progressed via the links from one sheet to another, rather like in the old computer game "adventure". I used this for my personal record of people and modules. It was similar to the application Hypercard produced more recently by Apple for the Macintosh. A difference was that Enquire, although lacking the fancy graphics, ran on a multiuser system, and allowed many people to access the same data.

Documentation of the RPC project                       (concept)

   Most of the documentation is available on VMS, with the two
   principle manuals being stored in the CERNDOC system.

    1) includes: The VAX/NOTES conference VXCERN::RPC
    2) includes: Test and Example suite
    3) includes: RPC BUG LISTS
    4) includes: RPC System: Implementation Guide
       Information for maintenance, porting, etc.
    5) includes: Suggested Development Strategy for RPC Applications
    6) includes: "Notes on RPC", Draft 1, 20 feb 86
    7) includes: "Notes on Proposed RPC Development" 18 Feb 86
    8) includes: RPC User Manual
       How to build and run a distributed system.
    9) includes: Draft Specifications and Implementation Notes
   10) includes: The RPC HELP facility

 Help  Display  Select  Back  Quit Mark  Goto_mark  Link  Add  Edit

Fig 2. A screen in an Enquire scheme.

This example is basically a list, so the list of links is more important than the text on the node itself. Note that each link has a type ("includes" for example) and may also have comment associated with it. (The bottom line is a menu bar.)

Soon after my re-arrival at CERN in the DD division, I found that the environment was similar to that in PS, and I missed Enquire. I therefore produced a version for the VMS, and have used it to keep track of projects, people, groups, experiments, software modules and hardware devices with which I have worked. I have found it personally very useful. I have made no effort to make it suitable for general consumption, but have found that a few people have successfully used it to browse through the projects and find out all sorts of things of their own accord.

Hot spots

Meanwhile, several programs have been made exploring these ideas, both commercially and academically. Most of them use "hot spots" in documents, like icons, or highlighted phrases, as sensitive areas. touching a hot spot with a mouse brings up the relevant information, or expands the text on the screen to include it. Imagine, then, the references in this document, all being associated with the network address of the thing to which they referred, so that while reading this document you could skip to them with a click of the mouse.

"Hypertext" is a term coined in the 1950s by Ted Nelson […], which has become popular for these systems, although it is used to embrace two different ideas. One idea (which is relevant to this problem) is the concept: "Hypertext": Human-readable information linked together in an unconstrained way.

The other idea, which is independent and largely a question of technology and time, is of multimedia documents which include graphics, speech and video. I will not discuss this latter aspect further here, although I will use the word "Hypermedia" to indicate that one is not bound to text.

It has been difficult to assess the effect of a large hypermedia system on an organisation, often because these systems never had seriously large-scale use. For this reason, we require large amounts of existing information should be accessible using any new information management system.

CERN Requirements

To be a practical system in the CERN environment, there are a number of clear practical requirements.

Remote access across networks.

CERN is distributed, and access from remote machines is essential.


Access is required to the same data from different types of system (VM/CMS, Macintosh, VAX/VMS, Unix)


Information systems start small and grow. They also start isolated and then merge. A new system must allow existing systems to be linked together without requiring any central control or coordination.

Access to existing data

If we provide access to existing databases as though they were in hypertext form, the system will get off the ground quicker. This is discussed further below.

Private links

One must be able to add one’s own private links to and from public information. One must also be able to annotate links, as well as nodes, privately.

Bells and Whistles

Storage of ASCII text, and display on 24×80 screens, is in the short term sufficient, and essential. Addition of graphics would be an optional extra with very much less penetration for the moment.

Data analysis

An intriguing possibility, given a large hypertext database with typed links, is that it allows some degree of automatic analysis. It is possible to search, for example, for anomalies such as undocumented software or divisions which contain no people. It is possible to generate lists of people or devices for other purposes, such as mailing lists of people to be informed of changes. It is also possible to look at the topology of an organisation or a project, and draw conclusions about how it should be managed, and how it could evolve. This is particularly useful when the database becomes very large, and groups of projects, for example, so interwoven as to make it difficult to see the wood for the trees.

In a complex place like CERN, it’s not always obvious how to divide people into groups. Imagine making a large three-dimensional model, with people represented by little spheres, and strings between people who have something in common at work.

Now imagine picking up the structure and shaking it, until you make some sense of the tangle: perhaps, you see tightly knit groups in some places, and in some places weak areas of communication spanned by only a few people. Perhaps a linked information system will allow us to see the real structure of the organisation in which we work.

Live links

The data to which a link (or a hot spot) refers may be very static, or it may be temporary. In many cases at CERN information about the state of systems is changing all the time. Hypertext allows documents to be linked into "live" data so that every time the link is followed, the information is retrieved. If one sacrifices portability, it is possible so make following a link fire up a special application, so that diagnostic programs, for example, could be linked directly into the maintenance guide.

Non requirements

Discussions on Hypertext have sometimes tackled the problem of copyright enforcement and data security. These are of secondary importance at CERN, where information exchange is still more important than secrecy. Authorisation and accounting systems for hypertext could conceivably be designed which are very sophisticated, but they are not proposed here.

In cases where reference must be made to data which is in fact protected, existing file protection systems should be sufficient.

Specific Applications

The following are three examples of specific places in which the proposed system would be immediately useful. There are many others.

Development Project Documentation.

The Remote procedure Call project has a skeleton description using Enquire. Although limited, it is very useful for recording who did what, where they are, what documents exist, etc. Also, one can keep track of users, and can easily append any extra little bits of information which come to hand and have nowhere else to be put. Cross-links to other projects, and to databases which contain information on people and documents would be very useful, and save duplication of information.

Document retrieval.

The CERNDOC system provides the mechanics of storing and printing documents. A linked system would allow one to browse through concepts, documents, systems and authors, also allowing references between documents to be stored. (Once a document had been found, the existing machinery could be invoked to print it or display it).

The "Personal Skills Inventory".

Personal skills and experience are just the sort of thing which need hypertext flexibility. People can be linked to projects they have worked on, which in turn can be linked to particular machines, programming languages, etc.

The State of the Art in Hypermedia

An increasing amount of work is being done into hypermedia research at universities and commercial research labs, and some commercial systems have resulted. There have been two conferences, Hypertext ’87 and ’88, and in Washington DC, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NST) hosted a workshop on standardisation in hypertext, a followup of which will occur during 1990.

The Communications of the ACM special issue on Hypertext contains many references to hypertext papers. A bibliography on hypertext is given in [NIST90], and a uucp newsgroup alt.hypertext exists. I do not, therefore, give a list here.

Browsing techniques

Much of the academic research is into the human interface side of browsing through a complex information space. Problems addressed are those of making navigation easy, and avoiding a feeling of being "lost in hyperspace". Whilst the results of the research are interesting, many users at CERN will be accessing the system using primitive terminals, and so advanced window styles are not so important for us now.

Interconnection or publication?

Most systems available today use a single database. This is accessed by many users by using a distributed file system. There are few products which take Ted Nelson’s idea of a wide "docuverse" literally by allowing links between nodes in different databases. In order to do this, some standardisation would be necessary. However, at the standardisation workshop, the emphasis was on standardisation of the format for exchangeable media, nor for networking. This is prompted by the strong push toward publishing of hypermedia information, for example on optical disk. There seems to be a general consensus about the abstract data model which a hypertext system should use.

Many systems have been put together with little or no regard for portability, unfortunately. Some others, although published, are proprietary software which is not for external release. However, there are several interesting projects and more are appearing all the time. Digital’s "Compound Document Architecture" (CDA) , for example, is a data model which may be extendible into a hypermedia model, and there are rumours that this is a way Digital would like to go.

Incentives and CALS

The US Department of Defence has given a big incentive to hypermedia research by, in effect, specifying hypermedia documentation for future procurement. This means that all manuals for parts for defence equipment must be provided in hypermedia form. The acronym CALS stands for ªComputer-aided Acquisition and Logistic Support).

There is also much support from the publishing industry, and from librarians whose job it is to organise information.

What will the system look like?

Let us see what components a hypertext system at CERN must have. The only way in which sufficient flexibility can be incorporated is to separate the information storage software from the information display software, with a well defined interface between them. Given the requirement for network access, it is natural to let this clean interface coincide with the physical division between the user and the remote database machine.

This division also is important in order to allow the heterogeneity which is required at CERN (and would be a boon for the world in general).

browser runs on many platforms

Fig 2. A client/server model for a distributed hypertext system.

Therefore, an important phase in the design of the system is to define this interface. After that, the development of various forms of display program and of database server can proceed in parallel. This will have been done well if many different information sources, past, present and future, can be mapped onto the definition, and if many different human interface programs can be written over the years to take advantage of new technology and standards.

Accessing Existing Data

The system must achieve a critical usefulness early on. Existing hypertext systems have had to justify themselves solely on new data. If, however, there was an existing base of data of personnel, for example, to which new data could be linked, the value of each new piece of data would be greater.

What is required is a gateway program which will map an existing structure onto the hypertext model, and allow limited (perhaps read-only) access to it. This takes the form of a hypertext server written to provide existing information in a form matching the standard interface. One would not imagine the server actually generating a hypertext database from and existing one: rather, it would generate a hypertext view of an existing database.

path between the database, the server and the browser

Fig 3. A hypertext gateway allows existing data to be seen in hypertext form by a hypertext browser.

Some examples of systems which could be connected in this way are

uucp News
This is a Unix electronic conferencing system. A server for uucp news could makes links between notes on the same subject, as well as showing the structure of the conferences.
This is Digital’s electronic conferencing system. It has a fairly wide following in FermiLab, but much less in CERN. The topology of a conference is quite restricting.
This is a document registration and distribution system running on CERN’s VM machine. As well as documents, categories and projects, keywords and authors lend themselves to representation as hypertext nodes.
File systems
This would allow any file to be linked to from other hypertext documents.
The Telephone Book
Even this could even be viewed as hypertext, with links between people and sections, sections and groups, people and floors of buildings, etc.
The unix manual
This is a large body of computer-readable text, currently organised in a flat way, but which also contains link information in a standard format ("See also..").
A generic tool could perhaps be made to allow any database which uses a commercial DBMS to be displayed as a hypertext view.

In some cases, writing these servers would mean unscrambling or obtaining details of the existing protocols and/or file formats. It may not be practical to provide the full functionality of the original system through hypertext. In general, it will be more important to allow read access to the general public: it may be that there is a limited number of people who are providing the information, and that they are content to use the existing facilities.

It is sometimes possible to enhance an existing storage system by coding hypertext information in, if one knows that a server will be generating a hypertext representation. In ‘news’ articles, for example, one could use (in the text) a standard format for a reference to another article. This would be picked out by the hypertext gateway and used to generate a link to that note. This sort of enhancement will allow greater integration between old and new systems.

There will always be a large number of information management systems – we get a lot of added usefulness from being able to cross-link them. However, we will lose out if we try to constrain them, as we will exclude systems and hamper the evolution of hypertext in general.


We should work toward a universal linked information system, in which generality and portability are more important than fancy graphics techniques and complex extra facilities.

The aim would be to allow a place to be found for any information or reference which one felt was important, and a way of finding it afterwards. The result should be sufficiently attractive to use that it the information contained would grow past a critical threshold, so that the usefulness the scheme would in turn encourage its increased use.

The passing of this threshold accelerated by allowing large existing databases to be linked together and with new ones.

A Practical Project

Here I suggest the practical steps to go to in order to find a real solution at CERN. After a preliminary discussion of the requirements listed above, a survey of what is available from industry is obviously required. At this stage, we will be looking for a systems which are future-proof:

  • portable, or supported on many platforms,
  • Extendible to new data formats.

We may find that with a little adaptation, pars of the system we need can be combined from various sources: for example, a browser from one source with a database from another.

I imagine that two people for 6 to 12 months would be sufficient for this phase of the project.

A second phase would almost certainly involve some programming in order to set up a real system at CERN on many machines. An important part of this, discussed below, is the integration of a hypertext system with existing data, so as to provide a universal system, and to achieve critical usefulness at an early stage.

(… and yes, this would provide an excellent project with which to try our new object oriented programming techniques!) TBL March 1989, May 1990


Nelson, T.H. "Getting it out of our system" in Information Retrieval: A Critical Review", G. Schechter, ed. Thomson Books, Washington D.C., 1967, 191-210
Smish, J.B and Weiss, S.F,"An Overview of Hypertext",in Communications of the ACM, July 1988 Vol 31, No. 7,and other articles in the same special "Hypertext" issue.
Campbell, B and Goodman, J,"HAM: a general purpose Hypertext Abstract Machine",in Communications of the ACM July 1988 Vol 31, No. 7
Akscyn, R.M, McCracken, D and Yoder E.A,"KMS: A distributed hypermedia system for managing knowledge in originations", in Communications of the ACM , July 1988 Vol 31, No. 7
Hypertext on Hypertext, a hypertext version of the special Comms of the ACM edition, is avialble from the ACM for the Macintosh or PC.
Under unix, type man rn to find out about the rn command which is used for reading uucp news.
Under VMS, type HELP NOTES to find out about the VAX/NOTES system
On CERNVM, type FIND DOCFIND for infrmation about how to access the CERNDOC programs.
J. Moline et. al. (ed.) Proceedings of the Hypertext Standardisation Workshop January 16-18, 1990, National Institute of Standards and Technology, pub. U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Filed under: Snippets, ,

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer


Stephenie Meyer

(Visit the Library to Read the Book)


Philip Womack wants to put a stake through Stephenie Meyer’s new novella, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Reviewed by By Philip Womack , The Telegraph

You might have thought there was no room for more in the bloated Twilight saga, which consists of four mega-tomes for teenagers relating the chaste love affair between a kindly vampire and a human girl. But there is. Stephenie Meyer has a story to tell and not even garlic will stop her. This mini-tome takes a minor character from the series, Bree Tanner, who (unfortunately for her) was vampirised. The novella follows her on the road to her death. Yes, she dies. Again. Didn’t guess that from the title, did you?

This lack of suspense might have been mitigated by good writing or character development. But Meyer doesn’t let such things get in the way of her befanged juggernaut. The plot concerns a vampire army. These vampires are bad. No, really bad! They listen to loud bass-heavy music. Sometimes they flip over cars, just for fun. They are being created by a girlishly voiced vampirette to attack the Cullens (the main family in the saga). Bree and the others are kept subjugated in a cellar; Bree falls in love with Diego, a slightly older pretty vampire (“but then,” muses Bree, “who wasn’t pretty?”), and tries to work out what’s going on.

Meyer’s favourite tricks are lists and repetition: “The sound of his landing was too low to catch the attention of the crying prostitute, the zoned-out prostitute, or the angry pimp.” Her conversations are limited, as most people are so tongue-tied they spend their time staring at each other across tables (causing Bree to think, usefully, “I had sat like this before – across a table from someone”).

Sometimes Meyer accidentally channels P G Wodehouse: “A couple of kids temporarily lost limbs”, or “the breeze turned helpfully gentle”. At others, Napoleon Dynamite crops up: “Vampires with skillzzz.” When the vampire army attacks a passenger ship, it’s Enid Blyton: “That was amazing – three cheers for Riley!” shouts one of them as they sit surrounded by bloodied and gutted corpses.

This is a strange, chaotic, even tedious book, which you cannot read if you don’t know the series, and if you do know it, won’t enlighten you one bit.



Filed under: Book of the week, ,

Website of the Week: Managed Q



: The Search Application

ManagedQ is driven by a group of dedicated entrepreneurs working in a basement in Palo Alto to develop the next step in Search.

The field of Search is years behind where it should be, as it hasn’t fundamentally changed in more than a decade. Results may have improved a bit, but people are still Searching the same way they did in 1995. With this lack of innovation, Results have essentially become a commodity.

ManagedQ capitalizes on this fact to transform Search as we know it from a command-line driven database query to an elegantly-designed Application that can be continuously improved and optimized. The end result is an entirely novel and compelling Search Experience.

Filed under: Website of the week,


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