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Theodor Holm Nelson Edit Profile

application developer , consultant

Theodor Holm Nelson, American application developer, consultant. Recipient Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Web award, Yuri Rubinsky Insight Foundation, 1998, Knighted Officier des Arts et Lettres, France, 2001, e-Democracy Forum award, 2005.


Nelson, Theodor Holm was born on June 17, 1937 in Chicago, Illinois, United States.


Bachelor in Philosophy, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, 1959. Master of Arts in Social Rels./Sociology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1962. Doctor of Philosophy in Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan, 2002.


Founding designer Project Xanadu, since 1960. Photographer and movie editor Communications Research Institute, Miami, Florida, 1962—1963. Instructor sociology Vassar, Poughkeepsie, New York, 1964—1966.

Assistant to the president Harcourt, Brace & World Publications, New York City, 1966—1967. Lecturer and media maker University Illinois, Chicago, 1973—1976. Co-founder Itty Bitty Machine Company, 1976.

Editor Creative Computing Magazine, Morristown, New Jersey, 1980—1981. Software designer Datapoint Corporation, San Antonio, 1981—1984. Distinguished fellow Autodesk Inc, Sausalito, California, 1988—1993.

Research fellow Sapporo HyperLab, Sapporo, Japan, 1994—1996. Professor Shonan Fujisawa Campus Keio University, 1996—2002. Visiting professor University Southampton, England, since 1997.

Lleverhulme visiting professor University Nottingham, England, 2003. Visiting fellow Oxford Internet Institute, England, since 2004. Software and usability consultant, since 1968.


  • Achievements include first to independent discovery, design and elucidation of interactive media, 1960-present. First to coined words hypertext, hypermedia. Design of Xanadu literary structure and software architecture, an ongoing family of software and document designs architected for side-by-side intercomparison, unrestricted re-use of content, and profuse links.

    Invention of enfilades, rearrangeable multifunction tree structures. Invention of Zzstructure, a generalization of lists and tables into multidimensional lists, offering unique forms of connection and visualization. Patents in field.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Life, Love, College, etc, Computer Lib/Dream Machines, The Home Computer Revolution, Literary Machines, The Future of Information.


Son of Ralph Nelson and Celeste Holm, Theodor (Stepfather) and Jean Parke Holm (Stepmother). Life partner Marlene J. Mallicoat. 1 child Erik.

Ralph Nelson

Celeste Holm

Erik Nelson