photo of Doug and colleague Using com­pu­ters to com­pose, study, mod­ify, research, brain­storm, plan, co­or­di­nate – toward more effec­tive collective action
Watch Doug presenting his knowledge-centric research goals in his 1968 demo (0:43)
and his model of online knowledge work and the promise of new media (__min)
Watch the Trailer for Doug's 1968 demo (5min)

Historic Firsts:
For Knowledge Work 0

Intro 1

Doug Engelbart was the first to envision and apply computers to facilitating what came to be called "knowledge work," from his initial epiphany in 1951 of a vast information space accessed through display terminals by intellectual workers, to his 1968 demonstration, and beyond. As published in the opening paragraphs of his his seminal 1962 report Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework:

By "augmenting human intellect" we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers—whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids.
Douglas C. Engelbart, 1962 [source]

Based on this report, Doug received initial funding to begin experimenting with basic interactive display editing, which grew into the full-featured NLS system, designed to facilitate his research goal of  helping intellectual workers become dramatically more effective. NLS featured numerous firsts: collaborative, hyperlinked, interactive, networked personal and organizational computing. Watch the videos at right to see Doug and his team in 1968 presenting his goals, his vision of online knowledge work and new media, and a bit of NLS in action, all from the live demonstration that is now known as the "Mother of All Demos."

Further Refinement 2

Doug Engelbart continued to refine this strategic approach to knowledge work, and terminology for key concepts, throughout his career. He coined the terms Augmenting Human Intellect (now inverted to Intelligence Augmentation), Collective IQ, Dynamic Knowledge Repositories (DKR), CoDIAK (for the Concurrent Development, Integration, and Application of Knowledge as the core process of knowledge advancement), and Networked Improvement Communities (NICs) for networked initiatives that give special focus to these capabilities, and a technology template for a world wide Open Hyperdocument System (OHS) of interoperable tools to support these capabilities. Key lectures and management seminars by Doug Engelbart covering these concepts are freely available at the Engelbart Academy. He won dozens of prestigious awards for his pioneering technological breakthroughs, but his model, usage requirements, and overarching paradigm for augmenting our collective intellect that shaped those technological breakthroughs are still quite relevant, crucial in fact, and remain largely unaddressed by today's prevailing paradigms.


See Also 4

  Image of Historic Firsts chart Click for more Historic Firsts

Explore the Web 4a

  • Visit Historic Firsts - for more of Doug Engelbart's many groundbreaking firsts.
  • Visit Doug's Vision for Humanity - all these Historic Firsts were part of a larger vision.
  • Visit Doug's Great Demo: 1968 - brings to life his early accomplishments with archive footage, photos, fun facts, story, and retrosectives (aka the "Mother of All Demos" – snippets shown above).
  • Visit Honors Awarded to Doug Engelbart - learn about the many awards Doug received for his trailblazing work.

From Doug's Lab 4b