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Alex McKenzie collection of computer networking development records

Identifier: CBI 123

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains general notes, protocol notes, experiments notes, legal/political notes, security notes and a newsletter file regarding INWG.

General Notes, written between 1972-1979 and numbered consecutively from 1-210 (missing 11 notes) plus one additional file of unnumbered notes, are primarily copies of papers, proposals, studies, diagrams, and some code concerning packet switching, sequencing, and other networking issues. They also include information on INWG workshops and INWG ad-hoc committees. Scattered throughout the General Notes are a few letters and memos.

Protocol Notes, numbered consecutively from 1-92, are primarily copies of papers, reports, summaries, protocol code, and diagrams presented by INWG members between 1974-1978. The protocol notes address communication between computers on an international scale, giving the most attention to creating functional and compatible means for electronic data transmission between nations.

Experiments Notes contains three INWG "experiments," papers defining plans which may or may not have been implemented.

Legal/Political Notes contains three files addressing electronic data transmission security, particularly aimed at banking and postal services.

Newsletter File includes copies of newsletters and memos distributed to INWG members between 1976-1990. Most INWG News issues, later titled INWG Newsletter, are in letter format. In 1984-1987 The Protocols-Subgroup Newsletterwas included with the INWG Newsletterand has a masthead with volume and issue numbers. The 1988-1990 issues were distributed separately. Some folders contain correspondence, memos, pamphlets and other newsletters.

Other materials in the collection include Internet Experiment Notes (IEN) and ARPANET Reports.

The Internet Experiment Notes (IEN) include Notes #1-212 (missing 7 notes) by Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc. (BBN), Information Science Institute (ISI), Stanford Research Institute (SRI), and other researchers' work on electronic data transmission. The notes consist of printouts of protocol codes, algorithms, computer language code, and project proposals and descriptions. Many of the notes relate directly to research networks sponsored by ARPA, including ARPANET, the Atlantic Packet Satellite Network (SATNET) and various Packet Radio networks. Some texts direct discussions and methods of communication between nodes. The notes are not a continuous progression following one plan or program development, instead they are coordinated efforts towards linking computer systems and computer networks. Also included is a partial index to the IENs.

The ARPANET Reports group BBN's technical proposal, installation lists, and status reports to ARPA from BBN on the development of ARPANET.

Acronyms used in this finding aid

  1. Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA)
  2. Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET)
  3. Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc. (BBN)
  4. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
  5. Information Science Institute (ISI), University of Southern California
  6. International Conference of Computer Communication (ICCC)
  7. International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP)
  8. International Packet Network Working Group (INWG)
  9. International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT)
  10. National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
  11. Network Control Center (NCC) affiliated with BBN
  12. Societe Internationale de Telecommunication Aeronautique (SITA)
  13. Stanford Research Institute (SRI) Telecommunications Sciences Center (TSC)
  14. Data Unit (DU)
  15. Experimental Packet Switched Service (EPSS)
  16. High-level Data Link Control Procedure (HDLC)
  17. Internet Experiment Notes (IEN)
  18. Interface Message Processors (IMP)
  19. Message Processing Module (MPM)
  20. Network Information Packets (NIP's)
  21. Packet Switching Network (PSN)
  22. Processing State Transition Digrams (PSTD)
  23. Specification and Description Language (SDL)
  24. TENEX -- BBN developed operating system
  25. Terminal Interface Processor (TIP)
  26. Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
  27. User Interface Program (UIP)


  • 1969-1990


Language of Materials


Access to materials:

Access to the collection is unrestricted.


The Charles Babbage Institute holds the copyright to all materials in the collection, except for items covered by a prior copyright (such as published materials). Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Historical Note

In 1972 a group of computer network researchers organized themselves into the International Packet Network Working Group (INWG) with Dr. Vinton Cerf as its first Chair. At the Fall 1972 International Conference of Computer Communication (ICCC) the group had its first meeting. In January 1974 INWG became Working Group 6.1 (WG6.1) and Technical Committee 6.1 (TC6) of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), but continued to be referred to as INWG. The group took as its charter the development of international standard protocols for internetworking. The concepts which led to Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) were first discussed in this group.

Alex McKenzie of Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN), the firm that developed much of the ARPA computer network (ARPANET), actively participated in INWG, serving as Chair from 1979-1982 and Secretary beginning in 1983.


9 boxes (3.0 cubic feet)


The collection contains INWG records, Internet Experiment Notes (IEN) and ARPANET Reports, collected by Alex McKenzie during his tenure with INWG.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection is divided into three series:

  1. International Packet Network Working Group (INWG) Records
  2. Internet Experiment Notes (IEN)
  3. ARPANET Reports

The International Packet Network Working Group (INWG) Records are further subdivided into the following subseries:

  1. General Notes
  2. Protocol Notes
  3. Experiments Notes
  4. Legal/Political Notes
  5. Security Note
  6. Newsletter File


The collection was received by the Charles Babbage Institute from Alex McKenzie in 1996.

Alex McKenzie Collection of Computer Networking Development Records, 1969-1990. Finding Aid.
Prepared by Lynn M. Leitte, May 1996; revised by Maria Plonski, July 2002.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Charles Babbage Institute Archives Collecting Area

Elmer L. Andersen Library
222 - 21st Avenue South
Minneapolis MN 55455