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While at ARPA, Licklider put significant resources towards the pursuit of his vision. Among the scientists he supported was Douglas Engelbart, who since the mid-1950s had been seeking support for the development of a digital information retrieval system inspired by Bush's Memex. APRA funding enabled Engelbart to assemble a team of computer scientists and psychologists at the Stanford Research Institute to create a "tool kit" that would, as he phrased it, "augment human intellect." Dubbed the oNLine System (NLS), its public debut in 1968 at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco was a landmark event in the history of computing. Engelbart unveiled the NLS before a room of 3,000 computer scientists, who sat in rapt attention for nearly two hours while he demonstrated some of his major innovations, including the mouse, windows for text editing, and electronic mail. Engelbart was making it possible, for the first time, to reach virtually through a computerŐs interface to manipulate information. Each of his innovations was a key step towards an interface that allowed for intuitive interactivity by a non-specialist. At the end of his presentation, he received a standing ovation.

However, the contributions of the NLS went beyond innovation regarding the computer interface. Engelbart and his colleagues also proposed that creativity could be enhanced by the sharing of ideas and information through computers used as communications devices. The oNLine System had its computers wired into a local network, which enabled them to be used for meaningful collaboration between co-workers. Engelbart understood that the personal computer would not only augment intelligence, but augment communication as well. In 1969 his research in on-line networking came to fruition with the creation of the Internet.