Recommended Readings on Doug Engelbart’s Ideas

Earlier this month, someone asked me for the best resources to learn about Doug Engelbart’s work. Doug didn’t publish prolifically, but he wrote quite a bit, and some of his papers are must-read classics. You can find most of his writing and many other great resources at the Doug Engelbart Institute, which is curated by his daughter, Christina.

Start with his classic paper, “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework”, which he published in 1962.

For Doug’s own historical overview of his work (published in 1985), read, “Workstation History and the Augmented Knowledge Workshop.”

For a deeper understanding of his conceptual framework for high-performance teams, knowledge work, and the role of technology, read, “Knowledge-Domain Interoperability and an Open Hyperdocument System” (1990) and “Toward High-Performance Organizations: A Strategic Role for Groupware” (1992).

I’ve written a lot about Doug and his work over the years, and it represents only a fraction of what I learned from him. For a high-level overview of his work and why I think he’s so important, start with my tribute to him when he passed away in 2013 (“Inventing the mouse was the least of it”) as well as my more personal tribute.

Brad Neuberg also wrote an excellent overview of Doug’s ideas. There are also short video clips of me, Brad, Jon Cheyer, and Adam Cheyer at a memorial service for Doug that I think are worth watching.

Luisa Beck did a great podcast earlier this year for 99% Invisible on Doug’s design philosophy, featuring Christina and Larry Tesler.

For more down-and-dirty essays about and inspired by Doug’s thinking, read:

For more on Dynamic Knowledge Repositories (DKRs) and Networked Improvement Communities (NICs), read:

Finally, for a detailed repository of notes and recommendations from when I first started working with Doug in 2002, see this list. Sadly, many of the links are broken, but most are probably findable via search.

If you have others to recommend and share, please post in the comments below!

Doug Engelbart Video Tributes

This past July, shortly after Doug Engelbart passed away, his friends organized a moving memorial for him. There were many wonderful tributes, and a television journalist also did some short video interviews with people who knew him well. If you’re interested in getting a tiny taste of who Doug was, the videos — especially the tributes — are a great source for that.

Here’s my interview (~6 minutes):

Here’s what Brad Neuberg (~7 minutes) and Jon Cheyer (~6 minutes), my HyperScope teammates, said:

Here’s what Adam Cheyer said (~8 minutes):

You can view the whole list here.

HyperScope Release Party Thanks!

Thanks to all of you who came to the HyperScope Release Party on Tuesday night, and many thanks to Jack Park and Adam Cheyer of SRI for hosting, and to Jeff Rulifson for picking up the first round of drinks at Oasis. Some photos are up, with more to come and hopefully some video as well. My presentation is also up, HyperScope-enabled of course.    (L5I)

The past few days have been wild, with the blogosphere chattering about the release. I’ve said all along that we wanted to initiate a conversation about bigger and better things. Well, that conversation has started and then some, so now the onus is on me and my team to respond. Give me a few days to catch my breath, and I promise, I’ll have plenty to say.    (L5J)

My friend, Min Jung Kim, wrote a really nice post about the party, about the Bay Area, and about faith. I’ve been saying for a very long time that I’m a closet-optimist. A few years ago, I dropped the usual line, and someone responded, “You don’t seem to be too far in the closet.” Working on things that you care about and working with people who also care about their work, these things have a way of outing you.    (L5K)

The most gratifying thing about working on the HyperScope and all of Blue Oxen Associates‘ other projects is that the folks we work with care about the bigger picture. It’s not about creating a nifty piece of software. It’s not about throwing great events. It’s not about writing cute essays. It’s not about helping any single organization. It’s about bettering the world we live in. When you’re around people who truly believe that, it’s intoxicating and it’s motivating.    (L5L)