Joseph Liklider was the head of DARPA and helped create the Internet. One of his landmark contributions was a paper called (I think) “the Galactic Network”. Where can I access a copy of that paper?

Thanks for asking this really interesting question!

I have not been able to locate any paper or book by J.C.R. Licklider with the title “The Galactic Network,” or any variation on that. Instead, what I have discovered is that Licklider proposed the idea of the Galactic Network in several papers in the early 1960s. The idea of the Galactic Network is that computers around the world could be connected and could share data and software. Sound familiar? Yes, this is the idea led to the development of the internet as we know it today.

I have found two of Licklider’s papers online, in which he describes his vision for computer networks. He does not use the phrase “Galactic Network” in these papers, though. The two papers “Man-Computer Symbiosis” and “The Computer as a Communication Device,” are reprinted in the report “In Memoriam: J.C.R. Licklider 1915-1990,” published by the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC):

From what I have read, Licklider actually uses the phrase “Galactic Network” in this next paper — but I haven’t been able to find a full-text copy of this paper online, so I can’t confirm that. Here is the citation to this paper, and a librarian will be able to help you get a copy of it:

J. Licklider, “On-Line Man-Computer Communication,” in Spring Joint Computer Conference, National Press, Palo Alto, California, May 1962, vol. 21, pp. 113-128.

As some general background, here is a good biography of J.C.R. Licklider:

And here is a collection of histories of the internet: