[Air-l] Re: Internet Histories

Jay Hauben jrh29 at columbia.edu
Sat Mar 23 21:47:14 PST 2002


I'm sorry I didn't see this earlier.

> Can anyone share with me how many kinds of Internet Histories have
> been written, told, narrated - sources, citations etc?
> thanks,
> r
> ___________
> Radhika Gajjala

Are you familiar with Netizens: On the History of Usenet and the
Internet by Michael Hauben and Ronda Hauben IEEE Computer Society
Press, 1997? It was one of the earliest efforts to document the
origins of the developments which led to the Internet. It takes a
social prespective that is unusal for the US. But European researchers
and also historiograghers like John Guice and Roy Rosenweig (see
below) have found it valuable.

It has been online since Jan 1994 at http://www.columbia.edu/~rh120/

In the December 1998 issue of the _American Historical Review_
Rosenzweig Observed that currently there is no mention of the Internet
and little mention of computers in history books. His essay on
"Writing Internet History" suggests that this will and should change.

In his review essay Rosenzweig looks at 4 books about the history and
development of the Internet and discusses them and the significance
they have to developing a historiography of the Internet.

The books he includes are "Where Wizards Stay Up Late", "Transforming
Computer Technology: Information Processing for the Pentagon,
1962-1986", "The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse
in Cold War America", and "Netizens: On the History and Impact of
Usenet and the Internet".  (He also mentions a few other books in his
comments or notes.)

The review essay looks at the social context of the Internet and of
Usenet and recognizes that this is a vital aspect to consider.

He says about "Netizens", it offers an interpretive perspective that
should be central to any future Net history. It argues "...that the
Internet has created a new kind of citizen, the 'netizens,' who they
define as 'people who decide to devote time and effort into making the
Net, this new part of the world, a better place -- a regenerative
and vibrant community and resource.' The Haubens see the democratic
nature of the network growing out of its grass-roots source in the
people who created Usenet."

I will look for the reference to John Guice's essay.

Take care.


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