NSFNET 20th Anniversary collection: 2007
Summary Information
Title: NSFNET 20th Anniversary collection
Creator: NSFNET 20th Anniversary Committee.
Dates: 2007
Extent: 0.5 linear feet, 16.6 GB
The NSFNET 20th anniversary celebration, held November 29-30, 2007, recognized the impact and achievements of the NSFNET program. The conference featured keynote speeches and panel discussions from participants who worked directly on NSFNET, and also from those whose work it benefited. The collection contains print and digital media documenting the event: program of event proceedings, video recordings of panel discussions, video recordings of oral history project interviews, 35 mm color slides.
Call number: 2012078 Aa2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Anne Leon, 2012

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was donated by Internet2 (donor no. 10244) on February 12, 2010.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open without restriction.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.


Copyright is not held by the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Processing Information:

In preparing digital material for long-term preservation and access, the Bentley Historical Library adheres to professional best practices and standards to ensure that content will retain its authenticity and integrity. For more information on procedures for the ingest and processing of digital materials, please see Bentley Historical Library Digital Processing Note. Access to digital material may be provided either as a direct link to an individual file or as a downloadable package of files bundled in a zip file.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, NSFNET 20th Anniversary collection, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


NSFNET was a program established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1985 to provide advanced networking for American research and educational institutions.[1] Advanced networks consist of interconnected computers and hardware, which facilitate the sharing of data between remote locations. This networking backbone, which transmitted data at a rate of 56 Kbit/s, provided the necessary infrastructure to connect supercomputer centers across the nation by establishing key hubs within universities that supported networking hardware. Ultimately these advances facilitated the creation of the Internet, which became a global network of interconnected networks. Through a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation, Merit Network, Inc., and a consortium of Michigan universities, a collaborative effort between IBM, MCI, and the State of Michigan created the NSFNET backbone service in order to satisfy the research and education community's growing need for networked communications.[2] As a result, NSF contributed to the ongoing advancement of its backbone network by establishing T1 (1.5 Mbit/s) and T3 (45 Mbit/s) service upgrades, which greatly increased the speed of data transmissions. This increased the number of research and education institutions that hosted interconnected supercomputer centers. The University of Michigan became part of the NSFNET backbone in November 1987. Thus, by combining high-speed networking and connection between the supercomputing centers and subsequent regional networks, NSF created the "network of networks" that served as the focal point of nationwide networking and that laid the foundation for today's Internet.[3]

The NSFNET 20th Anniversary collection documents the event, "NSFNET: The Partnership that Changed the World. Celebrating 20 Years of Internet Innovation and Progress," held November 29-30th, 2007, in Arlington, Virginia. The event was coordinated by a committee of individuals from organizations associated with NSFNET (including Merit, Advanced Network and Services, MCI, IBM, and the NSF) and featured keynote addresses and panel discussions related to the network's development, key partnerships, the roles played by external and international communities, and the lasting impact of NSFNET. For more information on speakers and panel discussions, refer to the event program in Box 1. (or the online version listed below).

  1. 20th Anniversary Event Speakers
    • Armstrong, John A.
    • Aupperle, Eric
    • Becker, Jordan
    • Bement, Arden L.
    • Bishop, Kenneth
    • Blanchard, James J.
    • Bloch, Eric
    • Boivie, Rick
    • Bosco, Paul D.
    • Braun, Hans-Werner
    • Brown, John Seely
    • Caviness, Jane
    • Cerf, Vinton
    • Chon, Kilnam
    • Farber, David
    • Gage, John
    • Gale, Doug
    • Gerich, Elise
    • Goldstein, Steven N.
    • Greer, Chris L.
    • Gruntorad, Jan
    • Hahn, Saul
    • Jacobsen, Van
    • Jennings, Dennis
    • Kadaba, Bharath
    • Kahn, Robert E.
    • Karin, Sydney
    • Kenworthy, Jamie
    • King, Kenneth
    • Knopper, Mark
    • Landweber, Lawrence
    • Liebhaber, Richard T.
    • Luker, Mark A.
    • Macneil, David
    • Mandelbaum, Richard
    • Mankin, Allison
    • Marburger, III, John
    • Markoff, John
    • Mayer, Marissa
    • Mazza, Robert
    • Mendelsohn, Noah
    • Mills, David
    • Nelson, David
    • Newman, Harvey
    • O'Beay, Ann
    • Perkins, Drew
    • Pullen, J. Mark
    • Rekhter, Yakov
    • Ricart, Glenn
    • Schrader, William
    • Shaffer, Henry E.
    • Strawn, George
    • Van Houweling, Douglas
    • Villemoes, Peter
    • Weis, Allan H.
    • Wiebe, Walter
    • Williams, Jim
    • Wilson, Kenneth
    • Wolff, Stephen
    • Yu, Jessica



1. NSFNET: The Partnership that Changed the World. "About NSFNET." Accessed May 2012. http://www.nsfnet-legacy.org/event.php

2. Merit Network. "NSFNET: A Partnership for High-Speed Networking. Final Report 1987-1995." Last modified October 26, 2004. http://www.merit.edu/networkresearch/projecthistory/nsfnet/.

3. NSFNET: The Partnership that Changed the World. "About NSFNET." Accessed January 2013. http://www.nsfnet-legacy.org/event.php

Collection Scope and Content Note

The NSFNET 20th Anniversary collection documents the event, "NSFNET: The Partnership that Changed the World. Celebrating 20 Years of Internet Innovation and Progress," held November 29-30th, 2007, in Arlington, Virginia. Consisting of website printouts, event program, archived websites, DVD-R discs, DVCAM tapes, and 35 mm color slides, the collection provides historic information regarding the foundation and progress of NSFNET over the past twenty years. The collection consists of two series: Event Information and Oral History Project.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Computer networks -- United States.
  • Information technology.
  • Electronic records.
  • Digital moving image formats.
  • NSFNET (Computer Network)
  • MERIT Computer Network.
  • Aupperle, Eric M.
  • Brown, John Seely.
  • Cerf, Vinton G., 1940-
  • Van Houweling, Douglas E.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Event Information [series]

The Event Information series is divided into three subseries: Print Materials, Archived Websites, and Event Proceedings.

Print Materials [subseries]

The Print Materials subseries includes NSFNET's 2007 Final Report documenting progress from 1987 to 1995, a program of the 20th Anniversary conference, a printout of the complete NSFNET 20th Anniversary website, and 35mm color slides of NSFNET Topology Maps.

Box   1  
NSFNET Final Report ("NSFNET: A Partnership for High Speed Networking 1987-1995") 2007
NSFNET 20th Anniversary Event Program 2007 (pdf) [download item]
Box   1  
NSFNET 20th Anniversary Website 2007 (Paper printout)
Box   1  
NSFNET Topology Maps 2007 (35 mm color slides)
Archived Websites [subseries]

The Archived Websites subseries includes two folders of archived websites documenting NSFNET's 20th anniversary conference celebration. The archived Flickr website contains photographs of event attendees and guest speakers. Additional archived web materials include panel discussion slides, complete listing of attendees, committee information, NSFNET background information, and sponsor logo images.

NSFNET 20th Anniversary Flickr Website 2007 (zip file) [download item]
NSFNET 20th Anniversary Website 2007 (zip file) [download item]
Proceedings [subseries]

The Event Proceedings subseries consists of video-recorded keynote speeches and panel discussions from the conference and include topics such as NSFNET: The Beginnings, NSFNET: The T1--The Internet Comes of Age, and NSFNET: An Era Remembered, in addition to, introductory and closing comments. Panel discussions feature guest speakers who were integral to the foundation and expansion of NSFNET. For a full description of each panel, consult the event program in Box 1 (or the online version available at http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/96227). Presentation slides from a number of discussions are available in the archived NSFNET 20th Anniversary event Website. See the list of speakers at the end of this section for a complete listing.

Part 1: Welcome and Introductions November 29, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Part 2: Panel Discussion on "The Solicitation & The Merit Partnership," November 29, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Part 3: Panel Discussion on "The T1--The Internet Comes of Age," November 29, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Part 4: Panel Discussion on "The T3 Backbone Service--The Internet Matures," November 29, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Part 5: Panel Discussion on "The Community," November 29, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Part 6: Panel Discussion on "The Impact on Research and Science," November 29, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Part 7: Day One Keynote Address "An Era Remembered" (delivered by Eric Bloch) November 29, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Part 8: "Reflections" (dinner panel hosted by Dennis Jennings) November 29, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Part 9 November 30, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Opening Comments and Introductions
Day Two Keynote Address "The Impact on Teaching and Learning" (delivered by John Seely Brown)
Panel Discussion on "The International Partnerships"
Part 10: Panel Discussion on "Why Did It Succeed?," November 30, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Part 11 November 30, 2007 (mov file, QuickTime video) [download item]
Panel Discussion on "Today's World Transformed...And a Look into the Future"
Closing Remarks (featuring Arden L. Bement)
Oral History Project [series]

The Oral History Project series includes interviews and panel discussions video recorded during the NSFNET 20th Anniversary event as part of the Internet History Archive's Oral History Project. The John Armstrong Interview features a past NSF Director of Research reminiscing about the beginning stages of the partnership with Merit and IBM and the creation of the NSFNET networking backbone. The "Backbone of the Internet Discussion" reviews the impact of NSFNET's adoption of the T1 backbone. The "External Communities Discussion" examined the perceptions of media reporters and education professionals in regards to networking during the late 1980s. The "Government Involvement Discussion" concerns the relationship between NSFNET and ARPANET, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded networking project. The "International Perspective Discussion" reflects on NSFNET's international expansion and how such initiatives shaped data sharing between U.S. and foreign scientists. The "Mid-Level Networks Discussion" explores the creation of campus networks and the subsequent development of regional mid-level networks as university supercomputers became interconnected. The "Pre-Commercial Period Discussion" details NSFNET's transition from a university and research focus to the period when services were extended to corporations for commercial use. The "Pre-NSFNET Period Discussion" concerns pre-NSFNET activities such as CSNET, BITNET, and the development of NSF-funded national supercomputer centers between 1980-1987. Finally, the "Technological Challenges Discussion" highlights the obstacles overcome in NSFNET's development, such as a scarcity of networking equipment and the lack of a universal networking language. Project participants for each discussion are noted in the item list.

Armstrong (John) Interview November 28, 2007 (m4v file, mpeg4 video) [download item]
Backbone of the Internet Discussion November 28, 2007

(Featuring Stephen Wolff, Eric Aupperle, Ann O'Beay, Jane Caviness, Allan Weis, and Douglas Van Houweling)

(m4v file, mpeg4 video) [download item]
External Communities Discussion November 28, 2007

(Featuring Judith Axler-Turner, Mark Luker, and Andreu Vea)

(m4v file, mpeg4 video) [download item]
Government Involvement Discussion November 28, 2007

(Featuring Glenn Ricart, Charles Brownstein, John Connolly, Priscilla Huston, Jane Caviness, and Stephen Wolff)

(m4v file, mpeg4 video) [download item]
International Perspective Discussion November 30, 2007

(Featuring Saul Hahn, Steven Goldstein, Kilnam Chon, Peter Villemoes, Jan Gruntorad, Robert Collet, David Macneil, and Lawrence Landweber)

(m4v file, mpeg4 video) [download item]
Mid-Level Networks Discussion November 28, 2007

(Featuring Glenn Ricart, Michael Staman, Guy Almes, and Douglas Gale)

(m4v file, mpeg4 video) [download item]
Pre-Commercial Period Discussion November 28, 2007

(Featuring Richard Mandelbaum, Michael Staman, Geraldine MacDonald, and Allan Weis)

(m4v file, mpeg4 video) [download item]
Pre-NSFNET Period Discussion November 28, 2007

(Featuring Lawrence Landweber, John Connolly, Dennis Jennings, and Peter Denning)

(m4v file, mpeg4 video) [download item]
Technological Challenges Discussion November 28, 2007

(Featuring Susan Hares, Richard Boivie, Scott Brim, Jordan Becker, and Curtis Villiamizar)

(m4v file, mpeg4 video) [download item]
Additional Descriptive Data
Related Material

Additional information regarding NSFNET may be found in the following collections: Information Technology Division (University of Michigan) recordsShirine M. Repucci’s papersMerit Records, Inc. recordsComputing Center (University of Michigan) records