Original announcement of the 1968 Demo, courtesy of Christina Engelbart and the Bootstrap Institute. Click for larger view.
On December 9, 1968, Douglas C. Engelbart and the group of 17 researchers working with him in the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA, presented a 90-minute live public demonstration of the online system, NLS, they had been working on since 1962. The public presentation was a session of the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, and it was attended by about 1,000 computer professionals. This was the public debut of the computer mouse. But the mouse was only one of many innovations demonstrated that day, including hypertext, object addressing and dynamic file linking, as well as shared-screen collaboration involving two persons at different sites communicating over a network with audio and video interface.
The original 90-minute video of this event is part of the Engelbart Collection
in Special Collections of Stanford University. This original video has
been edited into 35 segments and reformatted as RealVideo streaming video
clips. [Those clips not currently accessible, switched here to YouTube projector as interrim measure.] A brief abstract of the subject matter treated in each segment is
These video clips are made available for streaming use from this site only. No permission to redistribute them without permission is granted or implied.
credits in computer script. Describes location, technical arrangements,
methods of mixing signals, and explains how the video was produced
Doug introduction, "if you had a workstation at your disposal all day that was
perfectly responsible....or responsive." Doug gives general description
of what will happen. The goal of the demo is show the elements of the program
live rather than explain what it does.
Word processing beginning with "blank piece of paper," text entry, Illustrates
cut, copy, file creation including header with name, date, creator. Doug
is shown using keyboard, mouse, and chord keyset.
Formatting, hierarchical view control. Doug illustrates the many different levels and
views a file can be given.
Example using a file with lists, graphics. Doug show how it is possible to rearrange
the items by categories and by invoking hierarchical view control for displaying
contents of different levels.
Doug demonstrates capability of NLS to jump between levels in the architecture
of a text, making cross references, creating Internal linking and live
hyperlinks within a file. Links can be made visible or invisible.
Doug demonstrates working with a graphic file tagged with hyperlinked items.
Clicking on a link in the graphic, Doug jumps to separate items, such as
texts, linked to the graphic.
Introduction to next part of the program, shifting from illustrative material to the
inner workings of the system that enable a knowledge worker to have this
system at his or her disposal all day long.
Doug demonstrates creation of "chains of views," linked to one another. Doug
illustrates creation of links and "jumping on a link." Doug Illustrates
goals of project, supporting agencies and number of people involved since
the beginning. Doug describes the goal of creating a "system oriented discipline":
Bootstrapping as an evolutionary strategy for developing and improving
the tools by using the system as the basis of the Augment Research Center's
daily work practice.
Doug describes the goals of NLS (online system). NLS is an instrument for helping
humans operate within the domain of complex information structures. By
"operate" Doug means compose, study and modify. By "complex information
structures" Doug says that content represents concepts, but there is also
a relation between the content of concepts, their structure, and the structure
of other domains of human thought that is too complex to investigate in
linear text. The computer is a tool for navigating through those structures
and examining them in ways that would be too complex otherwise.
This segment discusses control devices, the keyboard and mouse. "I don't know
why we call it a mouse. It started that way and we never changed it." The
operation principles of the mouse are explained with Bill Paxton being
video patched in from SRI in Menlo Park. Doug discusses the tracking spot
on the screen and relation between mouse movements and attention focused
on the tracking spot.
Chord Key Set provides a five-finger equivalent of
what can be done with the
keyboard. Clip 13 [cont. on Reel 2] Combinations of keystrokes can launch different operations.
segment provides an overview of the controller system for I/O. buses, and
the timeshare software system on the 940.
This segment discusses display systems. Doug switches to Menlo Park where the
image of the CRT that is generating the text view on the console image
that is being viewed by the audience on the auditorium screen.
Discusses refresh rates and lag times with sweeps of 15 cycles per second, persistent
memory in CRT. Slight smearing of "bug" (cursor) for text, but still useful
for multiple users sharing screens.
In this segment Doug brings in Jeff Rulifson working at his console in Menlo
Park to discuss software design of NLS. Special languages that have enabled
the construction of commands, functions. Jeff shows a graphic with links
to files explaining parts of the program. He also jumps to a place where
programmers leave messages for one another. As an example Rulifson shows
documentation and explanation for "move word" and word delimiter commands
and the code that executes it. Another programming language described is
MOL (machine oriented language).
In this segment Rulifson discusses compiler. Rulifson references SDC people
for assistance in constructing languages that enable them to easily reconfigure
Rulifson shows how statements are tagged with annotations made by individuals. Search
patterns tracing the annotations and links constructed by individuals can
be created. (This topic is also discussed in more detail later).
Doug and Jeff discuss hierarchical control and use of control meta languages.
In this segment, Doug explains how the group uses the NLS system. As an example
he shows the use of the online documentation in the NLS manual for the
system to find definitions, such as What's a bug? What's a mouse?
In this segment Doug illustrates how NLS can be used to construct, collaboratively
modify, and ultimately publish reports and papers. He shows how to examine
and modify the paper he and his colleagues wrote for this conference, sets
formatting for printing, hypertext linking and viewing of document.
Doug explains joint usage and modification of a file by a group. Also in this
segment is a discussion of messaging techniques for working collaboratively
on a file. A content analyzer is described which can be used to retrieve
messages composed by a specific individual, between two individuals, or
further specified by specific content strings.
Doug explains construction of "markers" which can be compiled. These enable
pattern matching for strings of text and dynamic macro searches.
In this segment Doug shifts to two- person collaboration. Doug initiates a
"collaborative mode" in which he shares the same text-display with Bill
Paxton in Menlo Park and at the same time a live audio-video window inset
with Bill Paxton in Menlo Park.
Bill Paxton explains Information retrieval via indirect construction of a catalog.
The segment illustrates flexible formatting and line drawing. Paxton draws
a picture to explain keyword searching. The segment represents a good example
of using the system to work out a course of action collaboratively.
Bill Paxton demonstrates set up and use of keyword searching. A humorous moment
occurs when Bill Paxton thinks the signal has gone down.
Bill Paxton Illustrates multiple weighted keyword searching using the System
Programmer's guide as example.
In this segment Bill demonstrates keyword searching and weighting. He goes
on to illustrate jumping from the ordered list generated by the keyword
search to retrieve the full-content document linked to the keyword. Doug
concludes the segment with a recap and summary of the power of keyword
weighting, hyperlinking, and full-content retrieval enabled by the system.
In this segment Doug distinguishes between the Service System and the User
System. The ARC team distinguishes overall man-computer system into a dichotomy
between two systems, the service system and user system.The Service System
is what appears at the terminal, the organization of software and hardware
the system gives to me, the set of tools and capabilities available when
I click on the screen. The user system is what is beyond that. Given these
tools, how do we use the links, what are the conventions for leaving messages?
How do we use the NLS capabilities to do work? The procedures, skills,
methods, procedures, skills, and specific concepts people use are all developed
in coordination with the kind of tools they have available.
Doug describes a project within the Augmentation Research Center to study and
develop their own system of management tools to organize and manage the
work of the 17 people in the group.
In this segment Doug outlines the participation of ARC in the planned ARPA
computer network to be established within the next year (1969), in which
20 different computer sites across the country will be connected in a network.
Doug muses that with the planned band width of 20KB per second and delay
times with less than one-tenth of a second, he might be able to show the
present demo again next year from Boston.
In this segment Doug explains how NLS will be used as the infrastructure for
ARPA networks experiment in creating the Network Information Center. Individuals
and groups in the Network can query "Who's got what services?" NLS provides
the tools to connect different users to appropriate technology. This is
an example of enhancing group productivity and augmenting human intellect.
After all this what's the product we're providing in this research? It is a sample
augmentation system that is provided to augment computer system development.
In addition the aim is to provide tools for generating further, improved
Credits of the individuals, agencies and institutions who have provided funding
and support for the project. These include the ARC team, Bill English,
Ed van de Viet, Martin Hardy, Roger Bates, John Farbodough, Dave Evans,
Don Andrews, Jeff Rulifson, Bill Paxton and support from SRI staff, Steward
Brand, Air Force, ARPA. Doug also thanks Herman Miller Research Company
part of Herman Miller furniture company for creating office environments,
desks, and the operating and display consoles.