welcome to the jrnl

This is the blog for the Future of Text Community: jrnl Blog


Platform : WordPress


Inspired by Doug Engelbart we are working to not only write about this in hypothetical terms but also to build it so that we can demonstrate the usefulness of what is proposed.

In order to realise our goal of producing something visibly useful which can be used by anyone who can host a web page, the jrnl has the WordPress blogging platform as its core. This platform we believe has a lot to offer, as Wired recently wrote “it’s time for an rss revival.”

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

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


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

Vannevar Bush The Atlantic Monthly 1945


Components To Build


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


Original Team


  • Shane Gibson is principal WordPress architect
  • The Advisory Board is Ismail Serageldin, David Price and Howard Rheingold with Vint Cerf as chairman
  • Dialogue Partners include Bruce Horn, Mark Anderson, Jacob Hazelgrove, Marc Antoine Parent, Teodora Petkova, Timour Shoukine and Paul Presley
  • You? We are currently seeking collaborators and funding so please get in touch if you are interested in contributing

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


Origins & Goal


On the 9th of December 2018, The Doug Engelbart Institute, Vint Cerf and the Computer History Museum hosted a Special Symposium to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Doug Engelbart’s demo.

In order to honour a small part of his legacy, we are continuing to build our version/inspiration of his Journal (which we are calling just ‘jrnl’) which aims to deliver on some of the interactive elements which he invented but which are largely missing from today’s online environments and that is this project. This includes implicit linking and high resolution linking as well as a connection to a new type of ViewSpec; Liquid Space and Glossary.

The jrnl is being used as the meeting point and information point for the practical demos which will be featured on that day and which was supported with a private, demo presenters only, half day event on the 8th of December, hosted as a mini ‘Future of Text‘ event in support of the Special Symposium.