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Murray Turoff: Father of Computer Conferencing
Jan.-March 2012 (vol. 34 no. 1)
pp. 92-98
Ramesh Subramanian, Quinnipiac University

In 1971 Murray Turoff, a computer scientist working in the Office of Emergency Preparedness, Executive Offices of the President of the United States, was tasked with developing an electronic information and communication system to aid the US government's response to emergencies. The resulting Emergency Management Information System and Reference Index (EMISARI), based on a smaller system Turoff created the previous year, is often considered the first computer-mediated, multimachine communications and conferencing system and an early precursor to many of today's chat, messaging, conferencing, and collaboration systems. Turoff's later work with Starr Roxanne Hiltz at the New Jersey Institute of Technology resulted in the development of a next-generation computer-mediated conferencing (CMC) system, the Electronic Information Exchange System (EIES), and the publication of their acclaimed 1978 book The Network Nation.

1. M. Turoff email comm. with R. Subramanian28 Nov. 2011. All unattributed facts in this article can be attributed to the author's personal communication with Turoff.
2. M. Turoff interview by R. Subramanian21 May 2010.
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14. S.R. Hiltz email comm. with R. Subramanian12 Dec. 2011.
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Index Terms:
history of computing, Murray Turoff, The Network Nation, Starr Roxanne Hiltz, Office of Emergency Preparedness, computer-mediated conferencing, Electronic Information Exchange System (EIES), Emergency Management Information System and Reference Index (EMISARI), computer-based communications, networked communities
Ramesh Subramanian, "Murray Turoff: Father of Computer Conferencing," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 92-98, Jan.-March 2012, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2012.12
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