History of User Interfaces: A Mahoneyan Perspective

Anker Helms Jørgensen

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper explores the relationship between the current state of art in history of user interfaces and history of computing, drawing upon the work of the late historian Michael Mahoney. Computing only attracted the interest of professional historians in the 1980s - until then exclusively the territory of computing pioneers like Jean Sammet, Maurice Wilkes, and Herbert Goldstine. One of these historians was Michael Mahoney. From 1988 to 2008 he published a good number of papers on the topic, primarily on the historiographic aspects, such as how can history of computing learn from history of technology and how do you go about doing historical enquiries in software engineering? The present paper describes how Mahoney’s papers have been inspiring and useful in my explorations in user interface history. The paper focusses on three points: genres and authorship, the tripartite nature of computing, and a palette of historiographic models. In sum, the current state of art in user interface history shares many features with history of computing twenty years ago. 
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Ninth Danish Human-Computer Interaction Research Symposium
EditorsOlav Berthelsen, Anne Marie Kanstrup
Number of pages4
PublisherAalborg Universitetsforlag
Publication date2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventDanish Human-Computer Interaction Research Symposium - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 14 Dec 200914 Dec 2009
Conference number: 9


ConferenceDanish Human-Computer Interaction Research Symposium

Cite this