Watch the trailer from the
"Mother of All Demos" (1968)
Watch "Learnings from a Life's Work" (2011) for a quick tour of the Archives with Executive Director Christina Engelbart

The Engelbart Archive Historic Legacy 0

Overview 1

Welcome to "Living History" - the main portal to the Doug Engelbart Archive Collection and Virtual Exhibits. Who was Doug Engelbart, and how did he impact our lives for years to come? According to a recent article in the NY Times:

"Douglas C. Engelbart [was] a visionary scientist whose singular epiphany in 1950 about technology's potential to expand human intelligence led to a host of inventions — among them the computer mouse — that became the basis for both the Internet and the modern personal computer" – John Markoff, NY Times

Here you can learn about Doug and his research team's many accomplishments, as told through considerable archive records spanning decades 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, and the stories and exhibits of his vision, his pioneering firsts and more. 1a

For a quick tour of these Archives, watch Learnings from a Life's Work: The Doug Engelbart Archives – a 20-minute overview by Executive Director and daughter Christina Engelbart highlighting (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

Historic Firsts 2b

      Doug Engelbart is credited with "demon­stra­ting the power and the potential of the computer in the informa­tion age." Most of his epic technological firsts were in full operational use within his research lab by the mid to late 1960s, through 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' within networked initiatives. All this was in the service of prototyping the high-performance organizations and teams of the future. For a brief overview, see above Story of a True Pioneer.

Recently we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of THREE great milestones with footage, memorabilia, and fun facts galore! See Doug's Great 1968 Demo, his 1969 Demo Sequel, and Networked for details


scan cover of 1962 report on Augmenting Human Intellect
Vision for Humanity from Augmenting Human Intellect to Bootstrapping Collective IQ – a powerful framework and manifesto for humanity

screenshot Doug 1968 demo Doug's Great Demo the public debut of these firsts and more came to be called the "Mother of All Demos"

photo Doug and colleague at work
For Knowledge Work using computers to compose, study, modify, research, brain­storm, plan, coordinate – toward more effective collective action

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

screenshot of Doug 1968 using hypermedia Hyperlinked to easily connect the dots, to link to and zoom in and out of detail, to harness 'new media' in sync with human thought

photo Doug interacting with computer display using mouse, keyset, headset For Team Work prototyping the fast, flexible organization of the future, beginning with experimental teams and networked initiatives

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

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

photo Doug and team in meeting Human Centered new processes, paradigms, attitudes, skills, etc. were also rigorously explored and co-evolved with the tools

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

rough diagram of first 4 nodes on ARPAnet includes SRI Networked the first transmission between two sites, first to support online communities, networked information, networked initiatives

Augmenting Tool & Human System, Co-Evolution, Bootstrapping Strategic his design strategy to drive continuous improvement and innovation, proved revolutionary

MORE: See also The Keyset (companion to The Mouse) | Doug's Demo Sequel (1969, the year following his MOAD) | For System Developers (COMING SOON! a special case of Knowledge Work and Team Work, for example his software team used NLS for all aspects of their work: designing, planning, coding, compiling, bug tracking, etc.).

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.

What's in the Archive? 3

Photos 3a

   Image of  Award
Click to see a History in Pix

Videos 3b

  • 1968 Demo - our portal page to the "Mother of All Demos" video, links, retrospectives, and more

  • Engelbart Videography - showcasing selected videos available to view online

  • 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

Watch Engelbart Oral History with John Markoff (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.

  •    Photo of original mouse 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.

  • 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.

Texts 3e

   Photo of 1962 report
Click to browse seminal 1962 Report

  • Doug's Published Papers and Books - bibliography maintained at Doug Engelbart Institute with links to all of Engelbart's published papers and books, selected white papers, as well as links to books that feature his work.

  • At Stanford University - Doug's lab notebooks, correspondence, reports, memos, papers - available at the MouseSite Archive page, Stanford Libraries Special Collections, with links to their Annotated Table of Contents page, and Finding Aid - a Partial Guide to the Douglas C. Engelbart Papers, 1953-1998. Selected papers and reports are available online, the rest are hardcopy only. Stanford's extensive physical collection includes Doug's original notebooks, calendars, files, videotapes, audiotapes, etc. See Special Collections below for more at Stanford University.

  • At the Computer History Museum - home of hundreds of historic hardcopy documents from Engelbart and team's early work at his SRI ARC research lab, including the NLS/Augment Journals, and the complete archives from the Network Information Center (NIC) which was launched in Doug's lab by Jake Feinler. See the Finding Aid: Guide to the SRI ARC/NIC Records. See Special Collections below for more at Computer History Museum.

  • Biographical and Professional Highlights - Thumbnail bio with links to his awards, publications, patents, CV, biographical sektch, and more.

  • Press Clippings - comprehensive listing of press articles and news clips about Doug and his work dating back to the 1970s.

Slides 3f

  • The Bootstrap "Paradigm Map" - slides used by Doug throughout the 1990s to describe his guiding vision, includes links to videos of Doug's sessions presenting the key concepts at various venues.

  • Slides Presentations - links to slide archives available online

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.

  • 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

  • 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."
Image of  Award
Click to see Awards Gallery

Early Websites 3h

Awards 3i

Events 3j

  • See Historic Events for select game-changing events in Doug's career, such as his 1968 Mother of All Demos, and the first transmission over the net in 1969, and a succession of events later held to reflect and celebrate them.

Special Collections by Institution 4

Doug Engelbart Institute: The Doug Engelbart Archives, our main portal into Doug's archives, as well as the following selections on the main menu of our website: About | About Doug, History, Library, Press | Press Clippings. Special subcollections include stories of pioneering firsts such as the mouse, the 1968 demo, interactive computing, groupware, hypermedia, networking, Vannevar Bush's influence on Doug's work and other pioneers of the information age, and the strategic approach from which all of it emerged. We are currently processing all his work materials (50 years worth) from his home. See also the Doug Engelbart Institute on Facebook and ARC Bootstrapper on Facebook for more photos and postings. 4a

Stanford University: curators of the comprehensive MouseSite and the extensive Douglas C. Engelbart Collection (about 1/3 of his total archives) including the majority of Engelbart's lab notes, memos, proposals, reports, articles, meeting records, mouse patent, archival film, video footage, audio tapes, and photos -- and online "MouseSite" Demo page (excellently annotated!), Archives portal, Finding Aid and Contents and more; video archives of the 1998 event Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution and the 2000 Engelbart's Colloquium at Stanford, the Oral History Interviews, Silicon , and Partial Guide to the Douglas C. Engelbart Papers, 1953-1998 (see our Stanford Collections portal for additional details). 4b

Computer History Museum: Doug Engelbart's work is featured in several exhibits at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, all viewable online: 4c

  Original Mouse on Exhibit at Smithsonian
Click to see our Photo Album of Mouse Exhibit

Smithsonian Museum: The original wooden mouse is now on exhbit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, in their new Lemelson Hall for Invention & Innovation, in an all new exhibit titled Places of Invention. See our Photo Gallery and our On Exhibit:Smithsonian showcase for more. The museum also curates the Douglas Engelbart Oral History taken as part of their Computer History Collection; excerpts from Doug's 1968 Demo were also showcased in their award-winning Exhibit on the Information Age. 4d

SRI International: see commemorative event Engelbart and the Dawn of Interactive Computing, Timelines of Innovation including The Beginning of the Global Computer Revolution, The Computer Mouse and Interactive Computing, The ARPANET, the 1968 Mother of All Demos, SRI Gibson Achievement Award, SRI Alumni Hall of Fame, Video Highlights of the 1968 Demo, Remembering Doug Engelbart. Ninety percent of the historic photos of Doug's work are courtesy SRI Internatioal. as well as all footage from the 1968 Demo. 4e

Internet Archive: Doug Engelbart Video Archives hosted at the Internet Archive collection. Also selected texts, including 1995 seminar courseware 4f

Wikipedia: Douglas Engelbart | Augmentation Research Center | Computer Mouse | Mother of All Demos | NLS | Network Information Center | ARPANET | Collaborative Software | Graphical User Interface | Hypertext | Intelligence Amplification 4g

New Media Consortium: NMC Tribute to Doug Engelbart 4h

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