Revision as of 13:17, 17 September 2008 by Vardalas (talk | contribs)


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. The wiki based GHN enables those throughout the world who have developed electrical, electronic, and computer products and services to share their first-hand experiences. These shared experiences will provide the premier global record for preserving and interpreting the history of technological innovation and make that history available to the public.

The Importance of Shared Experiences

The IEEE Global History Network enables IEEE members to contribute their personal involvement in technological innovation and excellence yesterday and today. Through these personalized, first-hand accounts, IEEE members have the opportunity to share their experiences in developing products and services -- from invention, R&D, design, testing, production and commercialization -- with the world. These first-hand accounts will also include the broader range of experiences that led to your success as a professional, such as your education and your affiliations.

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. A special feature of the IEEE GHN even enables individuals to write down their engineering experiences collectively as members of a group, such as R&D lab or design team within a corporation.

At the same time you will be able, in concert with fellow members, historians and other knowledgeable parties, to write wiki-style articles about the history of technology that will help IEEE to raise the public visibility of the role of IEEE, IEEE members, engineers, and related professionals in enhancing the quality of life and the environment through the years.

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 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 to be a central site for members and others to explore the history of technological innovation.

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

"Topics", "First-hand", "Milestones" Taba

Depending on the nature of the content, the articles in the IEEE GHN are first presented to the user under either the "Topic", "First-Hand", 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 use the Edit tab to make additions and changes top anarticle. Any changes made under the edit tab are reflected here.

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

Intellectual Property

The IEEE GHN operates under two license agreements developed by Creative Commons:

  1. attribution, non-commercial share-alike;
  2. attribution, non-commercial, no-derivatives.

As long as attibution (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 build-up on the content. All redistribution of the work, whether in its original form or reworked, must also carry this license. To read the details of this license, which was prepared by Creative Commons, go  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

The second license, referred to above, also allows for content to be freely downloaded and redistributed, for non-commercial purposes only,  as long as their is attribution. However, under the rules of the second license above, none of the content can be altered in any way. To read the details of this license, which was prepared by Creative Commons, go Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives.

The particular license that applies depends on the nature of the content being used.  With the exception of  "Oral Histories", use of  "Topic" articles is subject to the "Attribution, NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Use of all "First-Hand Histories, Oral histories, and "Published Works" is subject to the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives" license.

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.  The license used will depend on the type of content being contributted (see preceding paragraph).

Contributors' rights and obligations

If you contribute material to the IEEE GHN, you thereby license it to the public under either the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives or Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licenses.  In order to contribute, you must be in a position to grant this license, which means that either you hold the copyright to the material, for instance because you produced it yourself, or you acquired the material from a source that allows the licensing under these two licenses or is already in the public domain. In the first 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. In the second case, if you incorporate external materials that are subject to either of these two licenses, then as a requirement of these licenses, you need to acknowledge the authorship and provide a link back to the network location of the original copy.

Using copyrighted work from others

All works are copyrighted unless either they fall into the public domain or their copyright is explicitly 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 GFDL or in the public domain are greatly preferred to copyrighted media files used under fair use.
Never use materials that infringe the copyrights of others. This could 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.

Copyright violations

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, you should at least bring up the issue on that page's discussion page. Others can then examine the situation and take action if needed. Some cases will be false alarms.

Image guidelines

Images and photographs, like written works, are subject to copyright. Someone holds the copyright unless they have been explicitly placed in the public domain. Images on the internet need to be licensed directly from the copyright holder or someone able to license on their behalf. In some cases, fair use guidelines may allow an image to be used irrespective of any copyright claims. 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.).
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.


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.

Ethical issues

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. Committing vandalism violates IEEE GHN policy. If you find that another user has vandalized this site, you should revert the changes and warn the user (see below for specific instructions). Users who vandalize the IEEE GHN repeatedly, despite warnings to stop, should be reported to GHN:Administrator intervention against vandalism, and administrators may block them. Note that warning is not an absolute prerequisite for blocking; accounts whose main or only use is obvious vandalism or other forbidden activity may be blocked without warning.

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 at the administrators' noticeboard for incidents or a specialized venue such as the administrator intervention against vandalism noticeboard. 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 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: 1. Preventing imminent or continuing damage and disruption to the GHN. 2. Deterring the continuation of disruptive behavior by making it more difficult to edit. 3. Encouraging a rapid understanding that the present behavior cannot continue and will not be tolerated. 4. 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 GHN while allowing for the cessation of disruptive editing and the return to respected editing. Attack Pages- A IEEE GHN article, page, template, category, redirect or image created for the sole purpose of disparaging its subject is an attack page. Under the criteria for speedy deletion, these pages are subject to being deleted by any administrator at any time. Non-administrative users who find such pages should add the Template:Db-attack tag to them, and should warn the user who created them by putting the Template:Attack tag on their talk page. If the subject of the article is notable, but the existing page consists solely or primarily of personal attacks against that subject and there's 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). On the other hand, keeping a "list of enemies" or "list of everything bad that some user ever did" is not constructive or appropriate. Bear in mind that the key to resolving a dispute is not to find and list all the dirt you can find on somebody.

In addition to observing the legal requirements, it is necessary for users to maintain civility and appropriate language at all times

1. Dealing with IP and Intellectual Issues

Anyone violating the GHN’s norms, or assisted someone else in doing so, can be blocked from the site by the GHN Oversight Committee at their discretion.

2. Content policies (e.g. insistence on history, avoid being taken into “how-does-it-work” content, quality/level of writing, point of view, position on original research)