KIHC is working in partnership with a research team based out of Pepperdine University, engaging in a new oral history program focused on under-studied pioneers of the early Internet. KIHC will provide a home for their study data, and make it available to scholars at UCLA and globally. Furthermore, we are working with the Pepperdine team to gain a more comprehensive picture of all the people who worked on the early Internet.
Their NetsB4Internet project will run through 2012-2013:
Histories of the development of the internet are abundant but focus almost exclusively on the technological developments leading to and fostering its creation. Attention to and an understanding of the social interconnections of the people who created and facilitated its development are rare. The histories and activities of the “fathers of the internet,” those pivotal few who, e.g., conceived the idea of interactive computer communication, managed the government funding agency, sent the first message, wrote the key TCP/IP protocol, and structured the world-wide web, are well chronicled and celebrated. But the stories of those “uncles and aunts” whose support, research, and development activities were crucial to the creation and international expansion of computer networking are largely undocumented. Initial inquiries reveal that the personal and professional relationships of all of these pioneers have not been studied to assess their effect on the direction and development of the internet technology. Therefore, inquiry into the nature and evolution of the social network underpinning the development of the early computer networks:
- will produce an important historical record,
- could provide a unique perspective on the social underpinnings of the diffusion of this important technology, and
- may yield new insights into the creation of technological innovations in general.