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A proposal for a computer-based interactive scientific community

By David Pager

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 15 No. 2, Pages 71-75

Because of the problems created by the explosion of papers in the mathematical sciences and the drawbacks that this places on research, it is suggested that a tree of all mathematical results and terminology be maintained in a multiterminal computer system. Users of the system can store in the computer an updated file of their current knowledge, and on selecting a paper to read, they can obtain from the computer the minimum subtree of theorems required to bring them from what they already know to the background knowledge which the paper assumes. Under certain conditions, means are also provided for the contribution of useful comments by the readers of a work and for interaction between commentators and with the author. This paper describes how the system can be organized and the role required of readers, writers, and commentators.

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