What is the IEEE Global History Network (GHN)?
Electrical, electronic, and computer technologies have dramatically transformed the world during the 19th and 20th centuries. Today they are the cornerstones of humanity’s material existence, and these technologies will continue to be powerful forces shaping life in the 21st century. The IEEE Global History Network (GHN) intends to be the world’s premier site for the documentation, analysis and explanation of the history of electrical, electronic, and computer technologies, the scientists, engineers and business people who made these technologies happen, and on the history of the organizations to which these men and women belonged.
The IEEE GHN is being built by the IEEE History Center as well as IEEE members and professional historians. The IEEE GHN fosters the creation of narratives that not only document the history engineering practice but also explain when, how and why these myriad of technologies developed as they did. It uses a wiki-based web platform to foster a collaborative online environment that taps into the collective memories, experiences, and knowledge of IEEE’s worldwide membership – the men and women who provide the imagination, creativity, and know-how to sustain the progress in electrical, electronic, and computer innovations. In time, this site will serve as a central historical repository of all the achievements, ideas, and first-hand knowledge of IEEE members, societies, councils and technical communities. The IEEE GHN will also provide a central location for all materials related to IEEE’s organizational history.
Although the contributions to this site are restricted to registered users, the IEEE GHN is also dedicated to making the social, economic, political, and technical aspects of the history of technology accessible to all. The general public is invited to come, explore and learn about the history of the technologies that have shaped, and will continue to shape their lives.
What the IEEE GHN Is Not:
The IEEE GHN is not a “how-does-technology-work” site. The IEEE GHN is not an encyclopedia of the history of technology. Although it does contain Wikipedia-like “topic articles” that cover general subjects within the broader context of technological history, it also contains the full range of materials that relate to the legacy of science and technology, including personal accounts, documents, and multimedia objects. In that sense, it is a combination reference guide, blog, virtual archive, and on-line community.
What is IEEE?
A non-profit organization, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) is the world's leading professional association for the advancement of technology, with over 375,000 members in more than 160 countries. Comprised of 38 Societies, IEEE’s membership spans every technical facet of electrical, electronic, and computer engineering. IEEE roots go back 125 years to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE).
The IEEE name was originally an acronym for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., which described its scope. However, over time the organization's scope of interest has expanded into so many related fields, that it is simply referred to by the letters I-E-E-E (pronounced Eye-triple-E). IEEE today is a leading authority on cutting-edge sciences and technologies ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics among others.
The IEEE Global History Network (GHN) is provided by the IEEE in support of its core purpose to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. This site will serve as the premier global record for preserving and interpreting the history of technological innovation and make that history available to the public.The wiki-based GHN enables the recording of first-hand experiences by people throughout the world who have developed electrical, electronic, and computer products and services into the globally accessible public record. In addition, as GHN users, IEEE members, historians and other knowledgeable parties, can contribute to this global record of innovation through wiki-style topic articles.
The GHN serves the public as a definitive and reliable website of record, and will raise the public visibility of the role and historical contributions of the IEEE, IEEE members, engineers, and related professionals in enhancing the quality of life and the global environment.
Unlike other on-line encyclopedias that may include technological topics, the IEEE GHN will be solely focused on the history technology. The IEEE GHN’s content will also be unique. No other wiki site offers the personal accounts of the technical innovators themselves. In other words, the IEEE GHN serves as a living, electronic memory of all the important experiences and contributions made by IEEE members and others to technological progress — from around the globe. As such, the site will never be “complete” — it will continually grow and expand. It is the mission of the GHN to be a forum for the community of engineers and innovators, and those who study their work, a networked repository of their memories, knowledge and achievements, a place to share and explore the history of technological innovation.
The IEEE Global History Network enables IEEE members to record their personal involvement in technological innovation and excellence yesterday and today. Through these personalized, First-hand Histories, the GHN invites and encourages IEEE members to share their experiences in developing products and services -- from invention, R&D, design, testing, production and commercialization -- with the world. The GHN hopes that these First-hand Histories will also include the broader range of experiences that led to your success as a professional, including your inspirations, education and affiliations. Because of the wiki functionality, the IEEE GHN even enables individuals to contribute their first-hand engineering experiences, as contributors to a collective First-hand History of a group, such as an R&D lab or design team within a corporation.
Who Can Contribute and Edit Content?
IEEE members can register on the IEEE GHN website using their IEEE member web account user name and password. Simply log into the site using your IEEE membership user ID and password, and you’ll be able to tell your own story in your own words, while enhancing it with photos, drawings, diagrams, documents (in both word and PDF format), and video and audio recordings. Non-IEEE members can apply for non-member access by sending a request to email@example.com. Once registered as a user, individuals can contribute articles and First-hand Histories. They also can edit unprotected content.
Who Can Participate in Discussions?
Any registered user is invited to participate in discussions. You must be logged-in to participate in discussions. See “Structure of an IEEE GHN page” (below) for an explanation of wiki-style discussions.
The Historical and Technological Scope of the IEEE GHN
The registered users of the IEEE GHN, who are IEEE members and historians, will ultimately determine the historical breadths and depth of the site by their writing and editing. The admissible range of technologies for historical presentation within the IEEE GHN is very wide – anything that involves electricity, electronics, and information processing. Examples, to mention just a few, range from microelectronics, giant electric power stations, bio-medical applications, the internet, space travel, ocean engineering, geosciences, video games, to music and movies.
Because of the preservation function of the IEEE GHN and the fact that it is a repository of data for future historians, general articles and first-person accounts are allowed to cover right up until today. Certain other sections will be restricted to people, events and innovations that have occurred at least 25 years ago, including the IEEE Milestones program. Historians have developed various guidelines for how long ago an event must have occurred to be considered ‘historical’, as such certain archival functions may be restricted to conform with such guidelines.
Nature of the IEEE GHN Content
A “topic article” is a third person description of a person, place, event, thing, or idea. The "topic article" requires a balanced exposition that makes reference to all the different credible perspectives. Authors of "topic articles" must cite the sources of the information used in their writing. Because "topic articles" can be edited by any registered user of the IEEE GHN, they can be the result of true collaborative efforts among any number of IEEE members and other registered users.
A First-hand History is written in the first person, using the pronouns “I” and “we.” A First-hand History is the recollection of an event, as seen through your eyes, as a first-hand witness to history. It records the direct experience of the event. When writing a First-hand History you must be careful not to write a history or something that would better suited as a “topic article.” If you think more background/historical information is necessary, link to the relevant “topic article” to explain to the reader things that fall outside of your personal memory. If the related "topic article" does not exist, you can create it with the appropriate title and leave it to others to write, or write it yourself.
First-hand Histories are very important to understanding the history of technology because they provide the experiences of those directly involved in the acts of discovery, design, invention, R&D, testing, production, and all other the elements shape the process of technological change. First-hand Histories are the accounts of the "actors" themselves.
Difference between a First-hand History and a Topic Article
- First-hand Histories are written by one person, or a group with a shared experience. Only you can make changes to your own First-hand History. When you enter an item as First-hand History, GHN knows to block editing for all user accounts except yours. Likewise, you cannot edit another user’s First-hand History. If you have question or a concern about the accuracy of someone else’s First-hand History, let them know in the “comments” tab. Topic articles are wiki-style collaborative documents which can be amended, updated, corrected, or expanded by any GHN member. They cannot be edited by the general public.
- Topic Articles need research and citations; First-hand Histories do not.
- Topic Articles should be written with a neutral point of view. First-hand Histories are personal accounts and should be written in the first person.
What is an IEEE Milestone?
The IEEE Milestone program is a longstanding effort of the organization to recognize and honor significant technological innovations. An IEEE Milestone is a “significant achievement that occurred at least twenty-five years ago in an area of technology represented in IEEE and having at least regional impact.” IEEE Milestones are first proposed and nominated by IEEE Sections and then evaluated by the IEEE History Committee.
The GHN acts as a complete and accessible repository for all officially approved IEEE Milestones. If there is an article about a particular Milestone, it will be internally linked in the list. As a repository of record, Milestone articles, once approved, cannot be edited.
Nominating IEEE Milestones
The nomination processes for Milestones is going digital! As a GHN member, you can submit a proposal for a new Milestone directly on the site by creating “nominated Milestone article”. There is a dialog box to do so in the left hand column on the IEEE Milestones tab of the site. . When a Milestone submission is made, it will appear as a “nominated Milestone” until it gets approved by IEEE. You can edit your nominated Milestones up until it is approved by IEEE. You can use the IEEE GHN to get feedback on your Milestone article and improve it. The better and more complete that a Milestone submission is, the better its chance of being approved.
An Oral History is an interview with someone with historical knowledge conducted by someone with historical training, in order to convert memory into a formalized historical document. The IEEE has a longstanding Oral History program through which an official interview with a significant figure in engineering or science conducted by specially-trained IEEE staff and volunteers. Its contents are set by what was discussed during that interview. All IEEE Oral Histories will eventually be uploaded onto the GHN, available for public access.
Difference between First-hand History and Oral History
A First-hand History is an article originated by the person or persons who experienced or contributed to the historical subject. An Oral History is conducted by an interlocutor, questioning the subject with the first hand experience. More simply, you can record your own first-hand experience on the GHN as a First-hand History. Oral Histories are recorded in an interview format by trained staff. As such, First-hand Histories can be updated, but only by its author or authors. Each Oral History is fixed by agreement of the interviewer and interviewee.
Archival Texts, Images, Audio, and Video
To provide a virtual archive for users of the IEEE GHN, image, audio and video files, and scanned versions of archival texts can be uploaded onto the IEEE GHN. These items cannot be edited.
Published material cannot be edited. A published materials page contains a short description of the material and a link to a pdf document containing the article.
Structure of an IEEE GHN page
"Topics", "First-hand Histories", "IEEE Milestones" Tabs
Depending on the nature of the content, the articles in the IEEE GHN are presented to the user under the "Topic", "First-Hand Histories", or "Milestones" tabs. This is where the current version of the article is first displayed to the user.
If the particular form of content admits editing, then one would select the Edit tab to make additions and changes. This displays the content of the article in an editable text box. For more information on editing pages, see the sections of the help page “Contributing” and “Editing”.
This is where you can comment on articles and engage in threads of discussion about article content.
Attachment tabs lead to pdfs, additional images, and other media types that will not be displayed in the page, but serve as an additional resource for readers.
The History tab allows readers to view the evolution of an article. Readers can see when changes have been made and by whom. Different versions of articles can be selected for comparison.
Every time you visit a web page, you send a lot of information to the web server. Most web servers routinely maintain access logs with a portion of this information, which can be used to get an overall picture of what pages are popular, what other sites link to theirs, and what web browsers people are using. While we will be following these standard practices, it is not the intention of the GHN to use this information to keep track of legitimate users. Policy on release of data derived from page logs.
It is the policy of IEEE GHN that personally identifiable data collected in the server logs may only be released in the following situations:
- In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement.
- With permission of the affected user
- To the chair of the IEEE History Committee, his/her legal counsel, or his/her designee, when necessary for investigation of abuse complaints.
- Where the user has been vandalizing articles or persistently behaving in a disruptive way, data may be released to assist in the targeting of IP blocks, or to assist in the formulation of a complaint to relevant Internet Service Providers.
- Where it is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of IEEE, its users or the public. IEEE policy does not permit public distribution of such information under any circumstances, except as described above. IEEE will not sell or share private information, such as email addresses, with third parties, unless you agree to release this information, or it is required by law to release the information.
Security of information
IEEE makes no guarantee against unauthorized access to any information you provide. This information may be available to anyone with access to the servers.
You may provide your e-mail address in your Preferences and enable other logged-in users to send email to you through the wiki. Your address will not be revealed to them unless you respond, or possibly if the email bounces. The email address may be used by the IEEE to communicate with users on a wider scale.
Deletion of Content
Removing text from the IEEE GHN does not permanently delete it. In normal articles, anyone can use the “History” tab to look at a previous version and see what was there. If an article is "deleted", any user with "administrator" access on the wiki can see what was deleted. Information can be permanently deleted by those people with access to the servers, but there is no guarantee that this will happen except in response to legal action.
User Identity and User Info Available to Other Users and Administrator
Publishing on the Wiki and Public Data
Simply visiting the web site does not expose your identity publicly (but see “private logging” above).
When you edit any page in the wiki, you are publishing a document. This is a public act, and you are identified publicly with that edit as its author. You will be identified by your user name. This may be your real name if you so choose, or you may choose to publish under a pseudonym, whatever user name you selected when you created your IEEE web account.
When using a pseudonym, your IP address will not be available to the public except in cases of abuse, including vandalism of a wiki page by you or by another user with the same IP address. In all cases, your IP address will be stored on the wiki servers and can be seen by IEEE's server administrators.
The wiki will set a temporary session cookie (PHPSESSID) whenever you visit the site. More cookies may be set when you log in, to avoid typing in your user name (or optionally password) on your next visit. These last up to 30 days. You may clear these cookies after use if you are using a public machine and don't wish to expose your username to future users of the machine. If you wish to do so, you may also wish to clear the browser cache as well.
Many aspects of the IEEE GHN's community interactions depend on the reputation and respect that is built up through a history of valued contributions. User passwords are the only guarantee of the integrity of a user's edit history. All users are encouraged to select strong passwords and to never share them. No one shall knowingly expose the password of another user to public release either directly or indirectly.
Intellectual Property Issues
The IEEE GHN operates under two license agreements developed by Creative Commons. Each type of content on the GHN falls under one or the other license agreement:
- Topic Articles -- With the exception of "Oral Histories", use of "Topic" articles is subject to the "Attribution, NonCommercial-ShareAlike” license. As long as attribution (crediting the source) is given, the first license allows users of the IEEE GHN to download and redistribute freely for non-commercial uses only. Furthermore, this first license also allows users to remix, slightly alter, or buildupon the content. All redistribution of the work, whether in its original form or reworked, must also carry this license and its restrictions. To read the details of this license and its restrictions, please follow this link to the Creative Commons website: [Attribution, NonCommercial-ShareAlike: License summary, License legal code].
- First-hand Histories, Oral Histories, Published Works, Archives and Milestones -- Use of all "First-Hand Histories", "Oral Histories", "Published Works", "Archives" and "Milestones" is subject to the “Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives" license. Like the first license, this license allows for content to be freely downloaded and redistributed, for non-commercial purposes only, as long as there is attribution. Unlike the first license, however, none of the content can be altered in any way. To read the details of this license and its restrictions, please follow this link to the Creative Commons website: [Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives: License summary, License legal code].
The particular license that applies depends on the nature of the content being used.
By contributing content to the IEEE GHN, users are accepting that they are assigning "licensor" rights to IEEE and that their work will be subject to one of the two licenses above, depending on the type of content being contributed.
Contributors' Rights and Obligations
If you contribute material to the IEEE GHN, you agree to license it to the public under either the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives or Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licenses, depending on the type of content. In order to contribute, you must be in a position to grant this license. This means that either you hold the copyright to the material, for instance because:
- You produced it yourself. In this case you retain copyright to your materials. You can later republish and relicense them in any way you like. However, you can never retract the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives or Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licenses for the copies of materials that you place here; these copies will remain under either of these two licenses until they enter the public domain.
- You acquired the material from a source that allows the licensing under these two licenses. In this case if you incorporate external materials that are subject to either of these two licenses, then you must acknowledge the authorship and provide a link back to the network location of the original copy.
- It is in the public domain. In this case there are no restrictions or reserved rights.
Using Copyrighted Work From Others
All works are copyrighted unless either they fall into the public domain or their copyright is explicitly limited, as in the case of creative commons licenses, or disclaimed. If you use part of a copyrighted work under "fair use", or if you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder under the terms of our license, you must make a note of that fact (along with names and dates). It is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of the IEEE GHN’s material as possible, so original images and sound files licensed under the these two licenses, under the GFDL or in the public domain are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files used under fair use.
Under guidelines for non-free content, brief selections of copyrighted text may be used, but only with full attribution and only when the purpose is to comment on or criticize the text quoted.
Never use materials that infringe the copyrights of others; it is a violation of the law. It could also create legal liabilities and seriously hurt the IEEE GHN. If in doubt, write it yourself. Note that copyright law governs the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas or information themselves. Therefore, it is legal to read an encyclopedia article or other work, reformulate the concepts in your own words, and submit it to the IEEE GHN. However, it would still be unethical (but not illegal) to do so without citing the original as a reference.
Linking to Copyrighted Works
Since most recently-created works are copyrighted, almost any IEEE GHN article which cites its sources will link to copyrighted material. It is not necessary to obtain the permission of a copyright holder before linking to copyrighted material, just as an author of a book does not need permission to cite someone else's work in their bibliography. Likewise, the IEEE GHN is not restricted to linking only to GFDL-free or open-source content.
However, if you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work. Knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringement in the United States.
Contributors who repeatedly post copyrighted material despite appropriate warnings may be blocked from editing by any administrator to prevent further problems. If you suspect a copyright violation, it is your responsibility to bring up the issue on that page's discussion page. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. If it is your copyright that has been violated, please contact the Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Similarly, if there is a dispute regarding copyright, the Administrator can be informed at email@example.com.
Images and photographs, like written works, are subject to copyright. Someone holds the copyright unless the images have been explicitly placed in the public domain. Images on the internet need to be licensed directly from the copyright holder or someone empowered to do so on his or her behalf. In some cases, fair use guidelines may allow an image to be used irrespective of any copyright claims. [US Copyright Office article on Fair Use]. Works produced by civilian and military employees of the United States federal government in the scope of their employment are public domain by statute in the United States (though they may be protected by copyright outside of the U.S.).
All unapproved IEEE GHN articles may contain errors of fact, bias, grammar, etc. An article is unapproved unless it is specifically and prominently marked at the top of the page as approved. The IEEE and the participants in the IEEE GHN make no representations about the reliability of these articles or, generally, their suitability for any purpose.
Approved articles are intended to have few errors; however, we make no representations about the reliability or suitability of these articles.
In addition to observing the legal requirements, it is necessary for users to maintain civility and appropriate language at all times. While GHN content will be available to the general public for viewing, content can only be added or edited by members of the GHN, which includes all IEEE members and others who apply for GHN membership. Membership represents belonging to a community of engineers, innovators and those that study their work and implies the responsibility to conform to the norms of collegiality and professionalism that distinguish our community. Anyone violating the IEEE GHN’s norms, or assisting someone else in doing so, can be blocked from the site by the IEEE at its discretion. Ethical behavior is of the utmost importance in such a community and falls into three basic categories.
- Respecting Intellectual Property (discussed in the previous section)
- Conforming with content policies of the GHN, including but not limited to:
a. Content must reflect historical issues. The GHN is not a “how-does-it-work” site.
b. Maintenance of a high quality/level of writing
c. First-hand Histories must be restricted to actual experiences of the author and may not contain information beyond the direct experience of the author. Articles about an objective subject must be written as Topic Articles, not First-Hand Histories.
- Respectful behavior in collaboration on content.
a. Vandalism violates IEEE GHN policy and will not be tolerated. Vandalism is any addition, removal, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the GHN. The most common types of vandalism include the addition of obscenities or crude humor, page blanking, or the insertion of nonsense into articles. Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is not vandalism. Even harmful edits that are not explicitly made in bad faith are not considered vandalism. For example, adding a personal opinion to an article once is not vandalism — it's just not helpful, and should be removed or restated. Not all vandalism is obvious, nor are all massive or controversial changes vandalism. Careful attention needs to be given to whether changes made are beneficial, detrimental but well intended, or outright vandalism.
If you find that another user has vandalized this site, you should reverse the vandalism by reverting to the earlier version of the page and warn the user (see below for specific instructions). Users who vandalize the IEEE GHN repeatedly, despite warnings to stop, should be reported to GHNAdministrator intervention against vandalism, and administrators may block them. Note that the GHN Administrator is not required to wait for a warning in order to block a user; accounts whose main or only use is obvious vandalism or other forbidden activity may be blocked without warning.
b. Attack Pages violates IEEE GHN policy and will not be tolerated. An IEEE GHN article, page, template, category, redirect or image created for the sole purpose of disparaging its subject is an attack page. The GHN has a policy of ‘speedy deletion’ which leaves such pages subject to being deleted by any administrator at any time. If the subject of the article is notable, but the existing page consists solely or primarily of personal attacks against that subject and there is no good revision to revert to, then the attack page should be deleted and an appropriate stub article should be written in its place. This is not meant to apply to requests for comment, requests for mediation and similar processes (although these processes have their own guidelines for deletion of requests that are invalid or in bad faith). It is not appropriate to target other users by keeping a "list of enemies" or "list of everything bad that some user ever did". Only bad content should be targeted. If a user repeatedly posts bad content, including attack pages, the Administrator may resort to blocking that user at the sole discretion of the Administrator. If you believe such action is warranted, please inform the Administrator (see below: Blocking).
What Is Blocking?
Blocking is the method by which administrators may technically prevent users from editing the GHN. Blocks are used to prevent damage or disruption to the GHN, not to punish users. Any user may request a block by writing to the the administrators' notice board for specific incidents, or to a specialized venue such as the “administrator intervention against vandalism” notice board as described above. Users requesting blocks should supply credible evidence of the circumstances warranting a block. Administrators are never obliged to place a block and are free to investigate the situation themselves. If you wish to contest a block, see GHN:Appealing a block for further instructions. Except in cases of unambiguous error, administrators will not undo other administrators' blocks without prior discussion.
Purpose and Goal of Blocking
All blocks ultimately exist to protect the GHN project from harm, and reduce likely future problems. When lesser measures are inadequate, or problematic conduct persists, appropriate use of a block can help achieve this in four important ways:
- Preventing imminent or continuing damage and disruption to the GHN.
- Deterring the continuation of disruptive behavior by making it more difficult to edit.
- Encouraging a rapid understanding that the present behavior cannot continue and will not be tolerated.
- Encouraging a more productive, congenial editing style within community norms.
Important note – Blocks are intended to reduce the likelihood of future problems, by either removing, or encouraging change in, a source of disruption. They are not intended for use in retaliation, as punishment, or where there is no current conduct issue which is of concern.
For the purposes of protection and encouragement, blocks may escalate in duration to protect the IEEE GHN while allowing for the cessation of disruptive editing and the return to respected editing.