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What is IEEE?

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) roots go back 125 years to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE). A non-profit organization, 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. 

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

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) strives 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.

Put simply, the IEEE Global History Network’s objective is to offer the broadest, most in-depth, and accurate information on the histories of electrical, electronic and computer technologies. To meet this objective, the IEEE GHN uses a wiki-based web platform to foster truly 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.
Through this global collaboration, 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. 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. In addition to being a platform for sharing experiences and discussing ideas related to the history of technology, the IEEE GHN will also provide a central location for all materials related to IEEE’s organizational history.
The IEEE GHN invites all professional historians to share their expertise and to collaborate with others on this site in constructing the histories of electrical, electronics, and computer technologies.
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.

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.

As far as how old event have to be to be considered suitable for the IEEE GHN, historians have developed various guidelines for how far in the past an event must have occurred for the passage of time to allow. The IEEE Milestones program, for example, requires 25 years to have lapsed, and that will be reflected on the Milestone portion of the IEEE GHN. Other archival functions may be similarly restricted. However, 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.

Nature of the IEEE GHN Content

Topic articles

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.

First-hand accounts

A first-hand account is written in the first person, using the pronouns “I” and “we.” A first-hand account is the recollection of an event, as seen through one person’s eyes. It is direct experience of the event. When writing a first-hand account one 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 things that fall outside of your personal memory to the reader. If the "topic article" does not exist, one can create it with the appropiate title and leave it to others to write, or write it yourself.

First-hand accounts are very important to understanding the history of technology because they provide the experiences of those directly in the acts of discovery, design, invention, R&D, testing, production, and all other the elements shape the process of technological change. First-hand experiences are the accounts of the "actors" themselves.

Who can make changes to a first-hand account?

Only you can make changes to your own first-hand account. When you enter an item as first-hand account, GHN knows to block editing for all user accounts except yours.

Likewise, you cannot edit another user’s first-hand account. If you have a problem with or question about part of someone else’s first-hand account, let them know in the “comments” tab.

Difference between First-hand account and Article

Articles need research and citations, first-hand accounts do not. Articles should be written with a neutral point of view.


What is an IEEE Milestone

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.”

Approved Milestones

This is where the list of all the officially approved IEEE milestones goes. If there is an article about a particular milestone, it will be internally linked in the list. Once the article for an approved milestone is set; it cannot be edited.

Nominated Milestones

The nomination processes for milestones is going digital! New milestone submissions should be made as pages in the GHN. 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.

Oral Histories

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. In the case of the IEEE Oral History program, the oral history is 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 at that interview. A first-hand account is one person’s or a group of people’s memories about something that he, she, or they experienced, without recourse to an interlocutor. First-hand accounts can be updated, but only by its author or authors, but an oral history is fixed by agreement of the interviewer and interviewee (although the same person can be the subject of multiple oral history interviews).

Archival Texts, images, audio, and video

Published material

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

Account Tab

This is where the current version of the content appears. Any changes made under the edit tab are reflected here. This is what non-editing visitors to the GHN see.

Edit Tab

This is where the content of the article is displayed in an editable text box. For more information on editing pages see the sections of the help page “Contributing” and “Editing

Discussion Tab

This is where you can comment on and make suggestions for articles.

Attachments Tab

Attachment tabs for pdf, additional images, and other media types that will not be displayed in the page, but act as an additional resource for readers.

History Tab

Move Tab

Protect Tab

Who can contribute and edit content?

Who can participate in discussions?

Who can rate content?



Private logging

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 this one, and what web browsers people are using. 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:

  1. In response to a valid subpoena or other compulsory request from law enforcement.
  2. With permission of the affected user
  3. To the chair of the IEEE History Committee, his/her legal counsel, or his/her designee, when necessary for investigation of abuse complaints.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 look at a previous version and see what was there. If an article is "deleted", any user with "administrator" access on the wiki 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

User Identity

Publishing on the wiki and public data

Simply visiting the web site does not expose your identity publicly (but see private logging below).

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 so, 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 license the IEEE GHN uses grants free access to our content in the same sense that free software is licensed freely. This principle is known as copyleft. Witha few exceptions, the IEEE GHN content can be copied, modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the IEEE GHN article used (a direct link back to the article is generally thought to satisfy the attribution requirement). IEEE GHN articles therefore will remain free under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which aim to ensure that freedom. To this end, the text contained in the GHN is copyrighted (automatically, under the Berne Convention) by IEEE GHN contributors and licensed to the public under the GFDL)

Important note: The IEEE does not own copyright on IEEE GHN article texts and illustrations except on locked pages where indicated. It is therefore useless to email our contact addresses asking for permission to reproduce content.