Internet histories: the view from the design process
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© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The electrical engineers and computer scientists who have designed the Internet are among those who have written Internet history. They have done so within the technical document series created to provide a medium for and record of the design process, the Internet Requests for Comments (RFCs) as well as in other venues. Internet designers have explicitly written the network's history in documents explicitly devoted to history as well as indirectly in documents focused on technical matters. The Internet RFCs also provide data for research on Internet history and on large-scale sociotechnical infrastructure written by outsiders to the design process. Incorporating the history of the Internet as understood by those responsible for its design, whether in their own words or by treating the design conversation as data, makes visible some elements of that history not otherwise available, corrects misperceptions of factors underlying some of its features, and provides fascinating details on the people and events involved that are of interest to those seeking to understand the Internet. Within the RFCs, history has served both technical and social functions.
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