Gus Mueller's Glossary

Hyper-link aggregators from 1996
August 20, 2021



"A good place to find writers who truly fulfill the promise of the web is personal webpages, not magazines or any profit or hit-count minded websites. One of the most impressive, and oldest, sites I have seen that really harnesses and exploits the potential of the web is the webpage of a man named Gus Mueller, or as he calls himself, simply The Gus. For the last 5 years, Gus, formerly a self-described "dumpster-diving punk" and now a respectable web developer, has been building one of the largest websites -personal or otherwise- I've ever seen. It all began with The Big Fun Glossary, an encyclopedic tome written about the goings-on of his social world. Centering around the lives of the residents of "Big Fun," a rural Virginia country house, the Big Fun Glossary list people, places, ideas, terms, and any other topic of conversation the housemates discuss. The Gus also maintained an online journal, called The Musings of the Gus, where he detailed every day of his life. Whenever he cited anything Big Fun related, he simply provided a link to the appropriate entry in the Glossary. This made it possible for readers to jump in at any point, instead of having to read from the very first entry. A textbook example of the power of the hypertext link, The Big Fun Glossary made it possible for Gus to write about anything with the knowledge that if his reader wanted to, he or she could know in great detail what Gus was talking about, without a long, drawn out explanation within the actual writing. The Big Fun Glossary thus provided a useful prose tool. It also brought attention to Gus's writings. In fact, the Glossary is how most people found his page. It covers such a wide variety of topics that anyone entering anything from "Classic Rock" to "Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide" will come across one of his pages. It's the classic model of good webpage design- someone finds one thing they like about it, then after a few minutes can't get out of it. It's web publishing combined with ethnography at its finest.


I've always assumed that the Essay itself (the polished work) was the best jumping off point. In the case of dumpster-diving Gus Mueller, a Glossary acted as an entry point into his body of work. From a big list of people, places, and things, you're bound to find something you're into. If the writing is good, you get hooked. Gus's site might be like an undiscovered ancient temple to the Roam cult.