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What is the IEEE Global History Network (GHN)?

The IEEE Global History Network (GHN) is a wiki with content generated only by IEEE members and invited experts. 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 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 developed 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.

Goal

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 Importance of Shared Experiences

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.