The emergence of a commercialized Internet is a very recent phenomenon. Historians and other scholars have examined its early history, especially its origins in the military-sponsored project ARPANET, named after the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency. At the other end of the scale, scholars, business journalists, and others have examined the rise and fall of the “dot.com” phenomenon, with studies of companies including Amazon, AOL, and Google. What is missing is a study of the transition between the two: how a network funded by taxpayers, and intended for a restricted set of users for restricted purposes, evolved into a worldwide cultural phenomenon, open to all, with almost no restrictions on its use for commercial purposes.
This paper is based on two forthcoming books by the author: one an analysis of the commercialization of the Internet, and the other on the role of northern Virginia as a locus of Internet management and governance.
Ceruzzi received a BA from Yale University in 1970, and a PhD from the University of Kansas in 1981, both in American studies. Before joining the National Air and Space Museum, he was a Fulbright scholar in Hamburg, Germany, and taught History of Technology at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.Ceruzzi is the author and co-author of several books on the history of computing and aerospace technology. He has curated or assisted in the mounting of several exhibitions at NASM, including: Beyond the Limits – Flight Enters the Computer Age, The Global Positioning System – A New Constellation, Space Race, How Things Fly and the James McDonnell Space Hangar of the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, at Dulles Airport.
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