TECH TALK: Constructing the Memex: Three Elements

As we have seen, the three primary building blocks for the Memex are the ecologies around weblogs, RSS and OPML. Let us now put these elements together with some of the ideas from ants (stigmergy and emergence), social relationships (small worlds) and biology (memes) to put together the Memex.

The Memex ecosystem actually comprises of three elements:

  • MyMemex: This is by, for, and of the individual a personal knowledge management system. It consists of the persons blog and directory. It can also have a visualization engine for a richer display of the embedded relationships and easier navigation.

  • OurMemex: We all belong to groups be it in social circles or in enterprises. This Memex is constructed jointly by members of the group. Another way to create it is by simply specifying clusters of bloggers in which case the result is an aggregate of the individual Memexes.

  • MemexCentral: This is the back-office of the Memex ecosystem. This is where the analytics takes place. It can also play host to the personal and group Memexes. It should be able to offer its services using the web services protocols.

    We can think of an equivalent analogy in the messaging ecosystem. MyMemex is equivalent to our individual mailboxes. We can have separate IDs for personal and for work purposes. OurMemex is akin to the group mailing lists. These could be simply aliases which bounce messages to various people (in our case, a Memex created by specifying a collection of bloggers) or specially created mailing lists like Yahoo Groups (akin to a Memex jointly and explicitly created by members).

    MemexCentral finds its counterpart in the messaging world in the various software tools (like Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes and Groove), the hosted services (Hotmail and YahooMail) and accessories (the spam filters). The role of web services is played by the SMTP protocol which allows for the exchange of messages between various mail servers.

    The blogging world offers analogies (no surprise, since blogs are one of the key cornerstones of the Memex). The blog creation tools like the desktop-centric Radio, server-centric MovableType and hosted mirror the possible approaches that can be taken for the creation of MyMex. Group blogging platforms like Slashdot, Traction and TypePad allow multiple people to participatively build up content.

    The MemexCentral mirror comes in the form of aggregation services like, which lists recently updated blogs, and sites like Blogdex, Daypop, BlogStreet, Technorati, Popdex and BlogShares, all of which capture some flavour of the blogosphere.

    Tomorrow: MyMemex

    TECH TALK Constructing the Memex+T

  • Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.