SIGCIS 2012 Workshop, Traditional Papers III: Histories of Network(s)

Name: Mariann Unterluggauer

Institutional Affiliation: ORF

E-mail address:

Paper Type: Work in Progress 

Paper Title: Project NetAffair - Europe has a story to tell

Paper Abstract:Interest: Identifying 20th century European achievements in experimental networking in order to detect patterns and to challenge 21st century European visions.

Research question: What makes the difference?

The aim of this work is to analyze the coordination and execution of former European experimental research projects such as the “European Informatics Network”, Cyclades, and ISO-OSI. These and similar examples are used to identify patterns, that shaped the development of ICT in Europe, and paved the way in the USA; considering research efforts and funding, EC-policy, standardization and the role of the industrial sector.
Europe has a story to tell

The political discussion about an experimentally driven research network in Europe began in the second half of the 1960s. It was the result of the “technology gap” discussion that emerged in Europe in the mid 1960s, shifting America’s leading role for utilizing technology into the limelight. The initiative was accompanied by a series of studies performed by the OECD and published in 1968 under the title “Gaps in Technology”. It included both the analyses of the inherent nature of the technological gap, as well as its economic, social and political causes and effects.

In contrast to the USA, European policy makers needed over three years of heated discussions in order to allow a small group of researchers to lay out the first pan-European computer network called "Cost Project 11" or "European Informatics Network" (EIN) which “won’t cost a packet!” (Derek Barber, British computer scientist and technical leader of EIN.)