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Douglas Carl Engelbart: Developing the Underlying Concepts for Contemporary Computing
July-September 1997 (vol. 19 no. 3)
pp. 16-26

Currently, the World Wide Web is the hottest topic in contemporary computing and popular culture. The Web's meteoric rise is difficult to escape notice. Web stories are plastered in the popular press, and advertisements now include cryptic strings of letters starting with http://. But what is missing from the current commercial descriptions of the Web is a discussion about the 30-year history of research and development that created the underlying technologies on which the Web is based. Much of this foundation was laid in the 1960s by Douglas Carl Engelbart. In 1968, at the ACM/IEEE-CS Fall Joint Computer Conference, Engelbart demonstrated his concept of "interactive computing" to a group of computer scientists, and this is now considered a seminal event in the history of computing. The technologies Engelbart originally presented included: windowed screen design, the user interface, hypertextual linking of documents, the mouse, collaborative computing, and multimedia. His pioneering work in the 1960s influenced future generations of computer designers and developers. Almost 30 years after Engelbart's initial demonstration, many of his pioneering visions are now commonly found in personal computers and the developing World Wide Web.

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2. V. Bush, "As We May Think," J.M. Nyce and P. Kahn, eds., From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and the Mind's Machine.Boston: Academic Press, 1991, p. 102.
3. Ibid., p. 103.
4. R. Simpson, A. Renear, E. Mylonas, and A. van Dam, "50 Years After 'As We May Think': The Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium," Interactions: New Vision of Human-Computer Interaction, vol. III.2, pp. 47-67.
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6. D.C. Engelbart cited in S. Ambron and K. Hooper, Interactive Multimedia.Redmond, Wash.: Microsoft Press, 1988, p. 19.
7. D.C. Engelbart, "A Conceptual Framework for the Augmentation of Man's Intellect," P.W. Howerton and D.C. Weeks, eds., Vistas in Information Handling, vol. 1. Washington, D.C.: Spartan Books, 1963, pp. 1-29.
8. See B.L. Whorf, Language Thought and Reality.Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1956.
9. Engelbart, 1963.
10. Ibid., p. 14.
11. D.C. Engelbart, "The Augmented Knowledge Workshop," A. Goldberg, ed., A History of Personal Workstations.New York: ACM Press, 1988, pp. 187-232.
12. J.C.R. Licklider, "Man-Computer Symbiosis," IRE [IEEE] Trans. Human Factors in Electronics, March 1960, pp. 4-11. (Also reprinted in A. Goldberg, A History of the Personal Workstation.)
13. M. Campbell-Kelly and W. Aspray, Computer: A History of the Information Machine, Basic Books, New York, 1996, p. 117.
14. A.L. Norberg, "Changing Computing: The Computing Community and DARPA," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 40-53, Summer 1996.
15. Engelbart, 1988.
16. T. Nelson, Computer Lib/Dream Machines.New York: Harper&Row, 1987, p. 17 (Dream Machines).
17. A. Maisel interviewer, "Doug Engelbart: Father of the Mouse," SuperKids, 1996, available at http://www.superkids.com/aweb/ pages/features/mouse/mouse.html#top_of_page.
18. D.C. Engelbart, "Authorship Provisions in Augment," I. Greif, ed., Computer Supported Cooperative Work: A Book of Readings.San Mateo, Calif.: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., 1988, pp. 107-126.
19. Engelbart, 1988.
20. Ibid., pp. 202-204.
21. D.K. Smith and R.C. Alexander, Fumbling the Future, How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer.New York: William Morrow&Co., 1988.
22. D.C. Engelbart and H. Lehtman, "Working Together: The 'Human System' and the 'Tool System' Are Equally Important in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work," Byte, Nov. 1988, pp. 245-252.
23. D.C. Engelbart, "NLS Teleconferencing Features: The Journal, and Shared-Screen Telephoning," CompCon75 Digest, Sept.9-11 1975, pp. 173-176. [IEEE catalog no. 75CH0988-6C.]
24. Ibid., section 8a.
25. Engelbart and Lehtman, 1988.
26. D.C. Engelbart, "Toward High-Performance Organizations: A Strategic Role for Groupware," Proc. GroupWare '92 Conf.,San Jose, Calif., Aug.3-5 1992.San Mateo, Calif.: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1992, pp. 77-100.
27. Engelbart, 1988.
28. P.F. Drucker, The Age of Discontinuity: Guidelines for Changing Our Society.New York: Harper and Row, 1969.

Citation:
Susan B. Barnes, "Douglas Carl Engelbart: Developing the Underlying Concepts for Contemporary Computing," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 16-26, July-Sept. 1997, doi:10.1109/85.601730
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