The Early History of Personal Computing: A Bibliography
GENERAL SOURCES ON THE HISTORY OF HCI
One useful historical overview is Chapter 1 of Baecker,
R.M. and Buxton, W. (1987), Readings in Human Computer
Interaction: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Morgan Kaufmann.
(A slightly improved version appears in Baecker, R.M.,
Grudin, J., Buxton, W., and Greenberg, S. (1995), Readings in
Human Computer Interaction: Toward the Year 2000, Morgan
Kaufmann.) Three others are Shackel, B. (1997), “
Human-Computer Interaction—Whence and Whither,” Journal of
the American Society for Information Science 48( 11); Myers,
B. (1998), “A Brief History of Human-Computer Interaction
Technology,” interactions, March-April; and Grudin, J.
(2007), “A Moving Target: The Evolution of Human-Computer
Interaction,” in A. Sears and J. Jacko (Eds.), Human-Computer
Interaction Handbook: Fundamentals, Evolving Technologies
and Emerging Applications, Erlbaum.
Two excellent edited volumes on the early history of personal
computers are Gupta, A. and Toong, Hoo-min D. (Eds.) (1985),
Insights into Personal Computers, IEEE Press; and Goldberg,
A. (Ed.) (1988), A History of Personal Workstations, ACM Press.
A good journalistic account is Levy, S. (1984), Hackers, Anchor
Licklider is discussed in depth in Waldrop, M.M. (2001), The
Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution that Made
Computing Personal, Penguin Books.
More than 40 recent interviews with important interaction
designers are reported in Moggridge, B. (2007), Designing
Interactions, MIT Press. Erickson, T. and McDonald, D.
(Eds.) (in press), HCI Remixed, MIT Press, presents personal
accounts of the impacts of seminal papers. A useful website is
maintained by the Georgia Tech Program in Human-Centred
Computing, see http://hcc.cc.gatech.edu/taxonomy/cat.
Hurst, J., Mahoney, M.S., Taylor, N.H., Ross, D. T. & Fano, R.M.
(1989), “Retrospectives: The Early Years in Computer Graphics
at MIT, Lincoln Lab, and Harvard,” ACM SIGGRAPH’89 Panel
Proceedings, Part I and Part II; Machover, C. (1978), “A Brief,
Personal History of Computer Graphics,” IEEE Computer 11( 11),
November; Wayne Carlson’s “Critical History of Computer
Graphics and Animation,” ( http://design.osu.edu/carlson/
history/ ID797.html); and also chapters by Gordon Bell, Doug
Ross, and Wesley Clark in Goldberg (1988).
An important historical panel is Buxton, W. (2005), “Interaction
at Lincoln Laboratory in the 1960s: Looking Forward —
Looking Back.” Panel Introduction, Proc. CHI 2005, 1163-1167,
also see http://www.billbuxton.com/Lincoln.html, and the
ePresence video archive of the panel, http://epresence.tv/
The Sketchpad thesis has been reprinted as Sutherland, I.E.
(1963), “Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication
System,” MIT Ph.D. Dissertation ( http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/
Direct manipulation was defined in Shneiderman, B.
(1983), “Direct Manipulation: A Step Beyond Programming
Languages,” IEEE Computer, August.
The development of Spacewar is recounted in Levy, S. (1984),
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Anchor Press,
Chapter 3. A series of computer-aided design history timelines
is at http://mbinfo.mbdesign.net/CAD-History.htm. An archive
devoted to the history of using computer graphics to visualize
biological macromolecules, starting with the work of Cyrus
Levinthal and colleagues at MIT in 1964-67, is http://www.
March + April 2008
PART TWO: HYPERTEXT
The original article is Bush, V. (1945), “As We May Think,”
Atlantic Monthly 176( 1). But see also Rayward W. B. (1994),
“Visions of Xanadu: Paul Otlet (1868–1944) and Hypertext,”
Journal of the American Society for Information Science 25( 4),
May, describing an early Belgian “information scientist” who
anticipated some key aspects of hypertext.
Much has been written about Engelbart and Nelson. Most
useful for learning about Engelbart is Bardini, T. (2000),
Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins
of Personal Computing, Stanford University Press, and Oinas-Kukkonen, H. (2007), “From Bush to Engelbart: ‘Slowly, some
little bells were ringing,’” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
29( 2), April-June, 31-39, which relies on interviews, includes
a comprehensive bibliography, and details Bush’s influence.
A monumental early book is Nelson, T. (1974), Computer Lib:
You Can and Must Understand Computers Now, and, on the
flip side, Dream Machines: New Freedoms Through Computer
Screens—a Minority Report, self-published, out of print.
A useful set of resources, http://www.cs.brown.edu/memex/,
includes Andy Van Dam’s keynote address at the first
Hypertext Conference in 1987.
PART THREE: INTERACTIVE COMPUTER
GRAPHICS AND DIRECT MANIPULATION
For accounts of the early history of interactive graphics, see
PART FOUR: GUI AND WIMP INTERFACES
The best account of the development of the Xerox PARC Alto
personal computer, the Superpaint color frame buffer, and
the earliest implementations of the graphical user interface
is Hiltzik, M. (1999), Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and
the Dawn of the Computer Age, Harper Business. An earlier
journalistic account focusing more on the business context is
Smith, D.K. and Alexander, R.C. (1988), Fumbling the Future:
How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer,
An excellent scholarly account of the desktop metaphor is in
Blackwell, A. (2006), “The Reification of Metaphor as a Design
Tool,” ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
13( 4). The earliest W YSIWYG word processors were Bravo and
Gypsy developed at Xerox PARC; for information about Gypsy
development see the interviews with its developers, Tim Mott
and Larry Tesler, in Moggeridge (2007).
Overlapping windows, a key feature of most GUIs, emerged in
the pioneering Smalltalk environment developed by Alan Kay’s
group at PARC (Kay, A., and Goldberg, A., 1976, Personal
Dynamic Media, Xerox PARC Technical Report SSL- 76-1).
Early thoughts that led to the concept of personal dynamic
media are found in Kay, Alan, “The Reactive Engine,” Ph.D.
dissertation, University of Utah, 1969. A comprehensive first-person account of the development of Smalltalk is Kay, A.
(1993), “The Early History of Smalltalk,” ACM Sigplan Notices
28( 3). See also two recent publications: Barnes, S. (2007),
“Alan Kay: Transforming the Computer into a Communications
Medium,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 29( 2),
April-June; and Maxwell, J. (2007), “Tracing the Dynabook: A