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:
- Maximizing Collective Intelligence Means Giving Up Control (2013)
- Engelbart’s Whale Slides (2007)
- Reversing 1984: Augmenting Language (2006)
For more on Dynamic Knowledge Repositories (DKRs) and Networked Improvement Communities (NICs), read:
- Documenting Is Not Learning (2014)
- Community Engagement and Dynamic Knowledge Repositories (2006)
- Do NICs Exist? (2004)
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!