Vannevar Bush's 1945 essay (published in the Atlantic Monthly), argues for a scientific movement towards making all human knowledge accessible. His ideas for doing so involved the creation of computational systems that would enhance information retrieval and fit with human biological perception and processing systems. The article was motivated in part by Bush's feelings that too much scientific emphasis was being placed on mechanisms of war.

As We May Think is an expanded version of Bush's 1939 article Mechanization and the Record. The system, which he called Memex, was described as based on ultra high resolution microfilm reels, coupled to multiple screen viewers and cameras, by electromechanical controls. The Atlantic Monthly article was followed, in November 1945, by a Life Magazine article which showed illustrations of the proposed memex desk and automatic typewriter.

As We May Think predicted many kinds of technology invented after its publication, including Hypertext, personal computers, the Internet, the World Wide Web, speech recognition, and online encyclopedias (aka Wikis.)

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