Scope and Content
Title: Engelbart, Douglas C. Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1953-1998
Collection number: M0638
Engelbart, Douglas C.
383 linear ft.
Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Abstract: This collection documents that activities of Douglas C. Engelbart, a computer scientist whose pioneering work in the 1950s
(first at SRI International, later at Tymshare, Inc.) led to the development of the interactive personal computer. Most of
publications in this collection were produced while Engelbart was at SRI. Includes Professional papers, including correspondence,
proposals, technical reports, notes, journals, 3 cassette tapes, 11 films and 6 video tape copies of same.
The processed portion of the collection, including everything described in the content listing, is open for research. The
unprocessed portion of the collection is closed until processing can be completed.
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights
reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To
obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the
Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.
Gift of Douglas C. Engelbart, 1986, 1988, 1991 and 1998.
Douglas C. Engelbart Papers. M0638. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
Born January 30, 1925.
In the late 1940s, Douglas Engelbart was stationed in the Philippines when he read Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think" in a
Red Cross library. He
became an early believer in Bush's idea of a machine that would aid human cognition. Later, he worked at Ames aeronautical
lab, and developed the idea
that would form the basis of today's computer interfaces.
In the early 1960s, Engelbart began the Augmentation Research Centre (ARC), a development environment at the Stanford Research
Institute. Here, he
and his colleagues (William K. English and John F. Rulifson) created the On-Line System (NLS), the world's first implementation
of what was to be called
hypertext. Yet this was only a small part of what ARC was about. As he states in "Working Together," Engelbart was particularity
"asynchronous collaboration among teams distributed geographically" (245). This endeavour is part of the study of Computer
Supported Co-operative Work
(CSCW); software which supports this goal is often called groupware.
"Augmentation not automation" was the slogan, the goal being the enhancement of human abilities through computer technology.
The key tools that NLS
outline editors for idea development hypertext linking tele-conferencing word processing e-mail user configurability and programmability
The development of these required the creation of:
the mouse pointing device for on-screen selection a one-hand chording device for keyboard entry a full windowing software
environment on-line help systems the concept of consistency in user interfaces
Itemizing these accomplishments using today's terminology emphasizes their detachment from one another. However, NLS was an
for natural idea processing. The emphasis was on a visual environment--a revolutionary idea at a time when most people (even
programmers) had no direct
contact with a computer. Input was by punched cards and output by paper tape.
Engelbart's work directly influenced the research at Xerox's PARC, which in turn was the inspiration for Apple Computers.
Ted Nelson cites him as a
major influence. In 1991, Engelbart and his colleagues were given the ACM Software System Award for their work on NLS.
Douglas Engelbart's patent for the mouse is only a representation of his pioneering working designing modern interactive computer
was born and grew up near Portland, Oregon. He served in the Navy as an electronics technician during World War II, and received
his B.S. from Oregon
State University. After working for NASA's Ames Research Laboratory, he received a Ph.D. from the University of California
at Berkeley. He then
joined the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), earning a number of patents related to computer components.
A main concern for Engelbert was how the computer could be used as a useful tool in tomorrow's office. While at SRI, he developed
groupware system called NLS (oN-Line System). NLS utilized two-dimensional computerized text editing, and the mouse, used
to position a pointer into
text, was a critical component. During a 1968 demonstration, Engelbart first introduced NLS--this was the world debut of the
mouse, hypermedia, and
on-screen video teleconferencing. His project became the second host on Arpanet, predecessor of the Internet.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Engelbart was a Senior Scientist at Tymshare, Inc., later acquired by McDonnell-Douglas. In 1989,
he founded The Bootstrap
Institute, which promotes the development of collective IQ through worldwide computer networks.
Scope and Content
Professional papers, including correspondence, research
proposals, technical reports, notes, journals, 3 cassette tapes, 11 films
and 6 video tape copies of same. Accession 1998-094 (249 linear ft.) has
not yet been processed.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Irby, Charles H.
American Federation of Information Processing Societies.
Augmentation Research Center.
IRE Professional Group on Electronic Computers (PGEC).
Network Information Center.
On Line System.
SRI Augmented Human Intellect Program.
Stanford Research Institute.
Stanford University Seminar on Human Communication v. Computers.
United States. Air Force. Office of Scientific Research.l.
Computer industry--Santa Clara County (CA)--History.
Science and Industry--California--Santa Clara County.