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NoteCards was a hypertext system developed at Xerox PARC by Randall Trigg, Frank Halasz and Thomas Moran in 1984. NoteCards developed after Trigg became the first to write a Ph.D. thesis on hypertext while at the University of Maryland College Park in 1983. NoteCards is one of the best known hypertext projects in the research world due to its design being well documented.

NoteCards is built on the model of there being four basic kinds of objects: notecards, links, browser card, and a filebox. Each window is an analog of a cue card; window sizes may vary, but contents cannot scroll. As such, the windowing model is not fully supported. Local and global maps are available through browsers. There are over 40 different nodes which support various media.

The basic construct in NoteCards is a semantic

network composed of notecards connected by typed links. Each notecard contains an arbitrary amount of information embodied in text, graphics, images, or some other editable substance. Links are used to represent binary connections between cards. NoteCards provides two specialized types of cards, Browsers and FileBoxes, that help the user to manage networks of cards and links.

Notecards in a nutshell , [1]

NoteCards was implemented in LISP on Xerox D-machine workstations, which used large, high-resolution displays. The NoteCards interface is event-driven. One interesting feature of NoteCards is that authors may use LISP commands to customize or create entirely new node types. The powerful programming language allows almost complete customization of the entire NoteCards work environment.

Notecards has been referred to as a "second generation" hypertext system.[2]


NoteCards is available commercially from the Common Lisp software vendor Venue,[3] and is compiled for Solaris 2.5 and 7 (untested on later versions ) and Linux x86 with the X Window System.[4] It is unknown how close this version is to earlier versions of NoteCards as there is little information about the product.


  1. Halasz, Frank G.; Thomas P. Moran, Randall H. Trigg (1987). "Notecards in a nutshell". Proceedings of the SIGCHI/GI conference on Human factors in computing systems and graphics interface. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: ACM Press. pp. 45–52. ISBN 0-89791-213-6. 
  2. Halasz, Frank G. (2001). "Reflections on NoteCards: seven issues for the next generation of hypermedia systems". ACM J. Comput. Doc. (ACM Press) 25 (3): 71--87. doi:10.1145/507317.507321. 
  3. Venue(Common Lisp software vendor)
  4. Compatibility information from vendor website pricing page

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