The Invention of Collaborative Computing

At Stanford Research Institute in 1960s, Douglas Engelbart led an R&D team that created the first collaborative computing system. Here is a partial list of his team’s major achievements:

  • the first general purpose collaborative computing system for knowledge workers
  • desktop videoconferencing, application sharing, and computer-aided meetings
  • the computer mouse
  • hypertext editing and publishing system, including version control, hyperlinks, content filtering, and online help
  • outline and idea processing
  • distributed client-server computing
  • intoducing the notion of the “Networked Improvement Communities”

It all started with Doug asking “Imagine what it might be like?….”

” Imagine what it may be like to have information-handling “horsepower” available for your personal use, with means for interaction and control so that you could get useful help in your daily activities , and with procedures and environments developed to facilitate its use and take advantage of its capabilities……Imagine waht it may be like? “

Douglas Engelbart, Untitled Manuscript, March 14, 1961 ( Engelbart papers, box2, folder 15, Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries )