From Counterculture to Cyberculture: The Legacy of the Whole Earth Catalog
David Hecht

Stanford University Libraries presents a Symposium celebrating the legacy of the Whole Earth Catalog featuring:

Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog and co-chairman of the Long Now Foundation

Kevin Kelly, former executive editor of Wired magazine and author of Out of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization and New Rules for the New Economy

Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier and Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution

Fred Turner, moderator and assistant professor of communication, Stanford University, author of From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Catalog, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism

With an introduction by Henry Lowood, Curator for Germanic & History of Science Collections, Stanford University Libraries. The panelists will illuminate the extraordinary impact of the Whole Earth Catalog and the American counterculture on contemporary computing and everyday life. The event celebrates the library's one-of-a-kind collection of Whole Earth Papers.

In the fall of 1968, Stewart Brand published a 61-page miscellany of hand tools, books, and other gear. A generation of long-hairs was heading “back to the land” and Brand aimed to give them the tools they’d need to get there. While most rural communes soon failed, the ideals and the social networks Brand and his colleagues built up around the Catalog would last a lifetime. Over the next forty years, they transformed American notions of technology and particularly, of computers. They shaped the defining notions of our digital world, including “personal” computing, virtual community, and the vision of cyberspace as an electronic frontier. They helped give rise to such influential venues as the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link (or WELL) and Wired magazine. And in the process, they transformed the ideals of the generation of 1968 into a deeply optimistic vision of the social potential of digital technologies.