Re: [Nethistory] Collecting the history of networking, a possible methodology

Elizabeth Feinler <> Thu, 23 May 2013 19:28 UTC

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To: Joe Abley <>
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Cc: Scott Brim <>,
Subject: Re: [Nethistory] Collecting the history of networking, a possible methodology
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Joe and Scot,

I think both of you have pointed out that there is probably no "right" way to document history.  My personal opinion is that both top down and bottom up are useful and that any approach that fills out the whole picture truthfully is useful.  It might be interesting at some point to document some of the various approaches that have been taken and their impact.

On May 23, 2013, at 5:10 AM, Joe Abley wrote:

> On 2013-05-23, at 07:42, Scott Brim <> wrote:
>> Jake, this feels very top-down.  There are already a dozen attempts at
>> Internet history.  In other areas we've found that everyone has their
>> own way of doing things, and attempts at unification are likely to fail.
>> I suggest that instead of unification you try for federation -- find a
>> way to include existing attempts, and not require them to reorganize.
> I made a brief presentation at a NZNOG meeting in Hamilton a few years ago entitled "The History of Peering in New Zealand". One entertaining hour later (NZNOG is good for audience participation) there were two or three people who volunteered to start a wiki based on the notes they had taken during the session. The wiki subsequently became a free-form repository for facts and anecdotes. InternetNZ later commissioned a book based (in part) on that material.
> (The book was kind of governance-heavy and missed a lot of the operational war stories that I found more entertaining.)
> This to me seemed like a good approach to Internet history: the anarchic commons free-edit with no pretension of journalistic integrity; the resulting pile of clues provides a basis for actual research.
> Joe