Women in Technology Hall of Fame

Elizabeth Feinler

Elizabeth  Feinler

Internet Pioneer, Active Volunteer

Inducted in 2018

Since retiring, Elizabeth "Jake" Feinler is an active volunteer for the Computer History Museum, where she co-compiled a timeline for development of e-mail. She donated, organized, and wrote a finding aid for over 350 boxes of archives from the Engelbart and NIC projects. She takes pride in her work to save for future generations the history of what has turned out to be one of the greatest inventions of the modern world: the Internet.

She pioneered and managed first the ARPNET, then she managed the Defense Data Network (DDN) network information centers (NIC) under contract to the Department of Defense (DoD).

Both early networks were the forerunners for today’s internet.

While serving as principal investigator for the NIC project and director for the network information systems center at SRI, Elizabeth’s group developed the first internet "yellow-" and "white-page" servers and the first query-based network hostname and address (WHOIS) server.

Her group also managed the host-naming registry for the Internet and developed the top-level, domain-naming scheme of .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .org, and .net, which are still in use today.

The NIC researched and managed parts of the first internet audit trail and billing system for the DDN, and they developed an early model for today’s email systems.

After leaving SRI, Elizabeth worked as a contractor for the NASA Ames Research Center where she helped bring networking to the large NSF and NASA telescope sites. She also was active in setting up the NASA Science Internet and Globe NICs and assisted with guidelines for developing and managing the NASA World Wide Web.

She was appointed delegate at large to the White House conference on libraries and information centers; has been a member of ASIS and IEEE, and was a founding member of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

She is a past chair of the IFIP working group 6.5 on user requirements for electronic mail, and the founder of the USING Working Group—the IETF Users Working Group.

She was inducted into the Internet Society Internet Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2013, she received the IETF Jonathan B. Postel Service Award, and in 2000, she was inducted into the SRI Alumni Hall of Fame.

Elizabeth joined the Stanford Research Institute (SRI International) in 1960 as an information scientist heading up the information research department and later became a member of Dr. Douglas Engelbart’s augmentation research center where she began her work on the Internet.

To Learn More
Internet Hall of Fame
Internet Gurus