Watch highlights from the
"Mother of All Demos" (1968)

Watch a tour of the Archives in
"Learnings from a Life's Work" (2011)

The Doug Engelbart Archive 0

Overview 1

Welcome to "Living History" - the main portal to the Doug Engelbart Archive Collection and Virtual Exhibits. Here you can learn about his and his team's many accomplishments and considerable archive records spanning a lifetime of prolific pioneering visionary pursuit. This comprehensive collection of historic texts, photos, video footage, anduil artifacts is curated across multiple institutions. Refer to the Table of Contents (left panel) to browse by media type, by institution, or by stories and exhibits about his vision, his pioneering firsts and special historic events. 1a

For a quick tour of these Archives, watch Learnings from a Life's Work: The Doug Engelbart Archives – a 20-minute overview by daughter/Co-Founder Christina Engelbart of (1) Doug's seminal work, (2) this archive initiative, and (3) how that work informs next-generation information technology – presented at the Internet Archive's 2011 Conference on Personal Digital Archiving. 1b

Online Exhibits 2

Story of a True Pioneer 2a

Watch the video tribute below for a brief overview of Doug Engelbart's pioneering work. See also A Lifetime Pursuit for a short biographical sketch of his career – his vision, inspiration, accomplishments, and strategic approach – how and why he did it all. For more, check out his Oral Histories by the Computer History Museum, the Smithsonian, and Stanford University Special Collections.

Watch highlights of his pioneering vision and accomplishments

Pioneering Firsts

Most of the technological firsts in this Exhibit were in full operational use within Doug's research lab by the mid to late 1960s, in a unified system called NLS. NLS was continuously evolved, along with his team's processes and thinking, following Doug's innovation strategy – one of his little known organizational firsts – a customer-centered, rapid-prototyping 'bootstrapping strategy' for 'augmenting the human intellect'. For a brief overview see Story of a True Pioneer above.

scan cover of 1962 report on Augmenting Human Intellect
Doug's Big Idea
from Augmenting Human Intellect to Bootstrapping our Collective IQ

screenshot Doug 1968 demo
1968 Demo
the "Mother of All Demos"
watch highlightslearn more

photo Doug and colleage at work
Knowledge Work
using computers for knowledge work – planning, designing, researching, etc. – was novel

photo Doug interacting with computer using mouse, keyset, headset
Interactive Computing
the dawn of interactive and personal computing in a punch-card era

photo original mouse
The Mouse
learn how and why Doug Engelbart invented the mouse, with links to more

photo keyset device
The Keyset
to enter commands with one hand while your other hand points and clicks

screenshot of Doug 1968 using hypermedia
Structured Hypertext
to easily link to and zoom in and out of detail to better match the human brain

photo of Doug in computer supported meeting 1967
meeting support, video conferencing, and other key provisions for online collaboration

rough diagram of first 4 nodes on ARPAnet includes SRI
ARPAnet / Internet
the first transmission between two sites, first to support online communities

photo of lead engineer Bill English using NLS
NLS / Augment
the system that integrated all these capabilities in a unified environment

photo Doug and team in meeting
Human "System"
new processes, paradigms, attitudes, skills, etc. were also rigorously explored

Augmenting Tool & Human System, Co-Evolution, Bootstrapping
Innovation Strategy
Doug's strategy to accelerate continuous improvement became part of his team's DNA

For a quick tour of exhibits at other institutions see Special Collections by Institution below including: ♦ Smithsonian ♦ Computer History Museum ♦ Stanford University and ♦ SRI International. For a bulleted list of just technological firsts, see A Lifetime Pursuit section on Pioneering Firsts.

Items in the Archive 3

Photos 3a

Videos 3b

  • 1968 Demo - our portal page to the "Mother of All Demos" video, links, retrospectives, and more
  • 3b1
  • Engelbart Videography - showcasing selected videos available to view online
  • 3b2
  • Engelbart Video Archive Collection - NEW! the Internet Archive now offers for online viewing an extensive video collection of Engelbart's lectures, demos, interviews, and TV appearances dating back to 1968
  • 3b3

Watch Oral History by CHM (2002)

Oral Histories 3c

Equipment 3d

  • The archives include the original computer mouse (owned by SRI International, now on exhibit at the Smithsonian), later production mice, and various versions of the 5-key keyset -- an input device for entering commands and text with the left hand while your right hand is pointing and clicking with the mouse.
  • 3d1 Image of the original mouse
  • In the "Revolution" Exhibit at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, you can see an authentic replica of the original mouse, along with a few early production mice and keysets. You can now tour the "Revolution" Exhibit online -- see the section on The Mouse is in the Input & Output topic, and a late-model Keyset in the Navigating Information topic. See Special Collections below for more at Computer History Museum.
  • 3d2
  • You can also see an authentic replica of the original mouse in the main lobby at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA, where Doug conducted his historic research, in a display case showcasing his work along with other prominent SRI inventions; the Engelbart display includes the wooden mouse, historic photos of Engelbart, and a brass plaque rendering of the US Patent on the mouse. See Special Collections below for more at SRI International.
  • 3d3

Texts 3e

Photo of 1962 report

Slides 3f

Software 3g

NLS display

  • We also maintain and continue to use a working version of NLS/Augment software on a Sun server, as well as various iterations of the Augment client software, including AugTerm and Visual AugTerm (VAT). Augment and AugTerm are also being preserved by the Software Preservation Projects.
  • 3g1
  • The HyperScope software, developed by the Doug Engelbart Institute in 2006 under an NSF grant to extend the standard browser with the precision browsing and viewing features first demonstrated in Augment/NLS, is documented at
  • 3g2
  • Watch Demos of the NLS/Augment software given by Doug Engelbart and members of his team dating back to 1968, including what is now known as the "Mother of All Demos."
  • 3g3

Early Websites 3h

  Image of  Award  

Awards 3i

Special Collections by Institution 4

About the Engelbart Archive Initiative 5

The Doug Engelbart Archive Collection documents the life's work, vision and accomplishments of Doug Engelbart. This is an ongoing initiative of the Doug Engelbart Institute, in collaboration with SRI International, Sun Labs, Internet Archive, New Media Consortium, and distinguished volunteers from Doug's alumni group, to preserve for historic interest, and to inform a next generation. The initial thrust of this Initiative has been to gather, sift through, catalog, digitize, and upload archival documents, video footage, photos, and digital files for preservation and broad-based accessibility. We are currently working with 2,000+ digitized historic photos, 150+ digitized video tapes, plus dozens of digitized papers. This work complements the existing comprehensive collections at Stanford University Libraries Special Collections, and the Computer History Museum. 5a

To get a flavor of what it's like to piece together the context and stories hidden in the subtexts of a massive archive collection, see Christina's blogpost A Day in the Life of a Personal Archivist, as well as Tim Lenoir's Final Report on the Stanford MouseSite Project. 5b