Unauthorized Book: "Engelbart Hypothesis"0

Engelbart Hypothesis or Evolving Collective Intelligence,
by Douglas C. Engelbart, Valerie Landau and Eileen Clegg

Note: Engelbart Hypothesis supercedes the earlier Evolving Collective Intelligence.

This book is unauthorized. Douglas Engelbart was not an author on this book. Eileen Clegg and Valerie Landau were the sole authors of this book. Listing Doug Engelbart as lead author was one of many problems with this book. The web is still populated with claims of Engelbart as author of this book under both titles.

Almost a year before its first publication, Doug Engelbart who was suffering from significant health problems, asked Executive Director Christina Engelbart to intervene, saying he wasn't comfortable with the content or the authors' grasp of the material, and he was not up to reviewing further manuscripts. Ms. Engelbart accordingly notified the authors that the Doug Engelbart Institute would need to review and approve any text attributed to Doug before publication. She further offered, if they wanted to do justice to a book about Doug Engelbart's life's work, they would undoubtedly want to have their work reviewed to assure accuracy and artistic integrity (see Permission to Use or Attribute Works.)

The authors published Evolving Collective Intelligence in November 2008 without benefit of such review, listing Doug as lead author, with significant factual, grammatical, and typographical errors throughout. The authors began offering the book online for a $50 donation touting "New book by the greatest inventor of the 20th Century". Institute management worked with Doug to draft a letter to the authors, and after multiple exchanges, the authors stopped offering the book online and submitted a revised manuscript for review. The Institute assembled a panel of the leading experts on Doug's work to review just the first 27 pages, with the offer to review the remaining 100 pages once the first 27 were corrected. The panel found 67 factual errors in the first 27 pages alone, including the claim of Engelbart as author.

For the July 2009 reprinting of Engelbart Hypothesis, the authors corrected many of the factual errors identified in the first 27 pages, but did not submit their reworked pages or the remaining 100+ as yet unreviewed pages reviewed, for accuracy. In addition, to date (22-Sep-2015) there are still references on various websites claiming Doug as author of this book, including the current listing of Engelbart Hypothesis on amazon.com. The gallery of screenshots showing the authors' web-based claims since 2009 is an unfortunate necessity.

These are exciting times, with the explosion of the internet, blogging, self publishing, and so on – much of which has its roots in Doug's seminal work. However, there is still an important role for publishers, editors and the like to uphold certain standards of artistic integrity and factual accuracy, especially for publications sold on the open market and/or touted as an authoritative work. Perhaps if these authors had worked with a reputable publisher from the start, the Institute would not be in this regretable position.

Please see Permission to Use or Attribute Works for Institute policies and additional context.

Book Cover: Evolving Collective Intelligence
BETA Edition Nov 2008