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Internet Innovation: The Big Read

August 30th, 2010 by Christian

(or: An Internet and Innovation Reading List for You.)

Recently I’ve been ginning up a reading list about the title given in this blog post, and I wondered if I could try to crowdsource some of this bad boy. If you had a semester and you wanted a graduate-level someone to learn all of the basics and some of the more advanced and interesting stuff about the broad topic “the Internet and innovation,” what would you tell them to read?

[The preview image for the
“History of the Internet”
video by Melih Bigil.]

My interest here is public policy and not so much on other areas (economics, law — though they’re in here).  I focus a lot on architecture.  I left out most of the network neutrality debate because it is so often NOT presented in innovation terms.  It is hard to assign something that focuses only on the innovation component, although certainly it is an important issue. If you have something, let me know!

What did I leave out?  I’d welcome your thoughts.


Von Hippel, E. (1988). The Sources of Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Full text online:

Rosenberg, N. (1983). Inside the Black Box: Technology and Economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rosenberg, N. (1994). Exploring the Black Box: Technology, Economics, and History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rogers, E. (2003). The Diffusion of Innovations. (5th ed.) Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

David, P. (2000). Path Dependence, Its Critics, and the Quest for ‘Historical Economics.’ IN: P. Garrouste & S. Iosnnides (eds.). Evolution and Path Dependence in Economic Ideas: Past and Present. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.


Tuomi, I. (2003). Networks of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press.

Von Hippel, E. (2005). Democratizing Innovation. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Full text online:


J. H. Saltzer, D. P. Reed, and D. D. Clark, End-to-End Arguments in System Design, ACM Transactions on Computer Systems (November 1984) PDF; in ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, 2(4): 277-288.

Bar, F., Cohen, S., Cowhey, P., DeLong, B., Kleeman, M., & Zysman, J. (2000). Access and Innovation Policy for the Third Generation Internet. Telecommunications Policy 24.

Blumenthal, M. & Clark, D. D. (2001). Rethinking the Design of the Internet: End-to-End Arguments vs. the Brave New World. ACM Transactions on Internet Technology 1(1): 70-109.

David, P. (2001). The Evolving Accidental Information Superhighway (or: The Beginnings and Prospective Ending of End-to-End.) Oxford Review of Economic Policy 17(2).

Sandvig, C. (2006). Shaping Infrastructure and Innovation on the Internet: The End-to-End Network that isn’t (link to draft version). In D. Guston & D. Sarewitz (eds.), In D. Guston & D. Sarewitz (eds.), Shaping Science and Technology Policy: The Next Generation of Research, pp. 234-255. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.


Zittrain, Jonathan. (2008). The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It. New Haven: Yale University Press.

van Schewick, Barbara. (2010). Internet Architecture and Innovation. Cambridge: MIT Press.

7 Responses to “Internet Innovation: The Big Read”

  1. Tweets that mention multicast » Blog Archive » Internet Innovation: The Big Read -- Says:

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  2. jeremy Says:

    ask me in another year or so, once i finish my current project on this topic. 4gb of data dealing with user-driven innovation on the internet and distributed knowledge production in hacklabs/hackerspaces.

  3. Sonya Dunne Says:

    It’s in the area of law, but in terms of sheer brilliance around the concepts of the internet, mapping and the thought processes behind innovation I think that David Post’s “In Search of Jefferson’s Moose” is a must read.

    A work of genius and a classic, it also gives a peek into Thomas Jefferson’s mind – surely one of the greatest of American innovators – as the concept of “The United States of America” was being created, a territory as wild and strange then, as the internet is now. Even if it doesn’t make the list, a definite must read.

  4. Steve Says:

    I’m currently reading Janet Abbate’s Inventing the Internet [1] which does a good job at recounting the interactions between the various actors and groups, as well as technical innovations and architectural decisions that have led to the Internet as we know it today.

    [1] Abbate, J. (1999). Inventing the Internet. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

  5. Matthias Says:

    I’d probably add a couple more to your third block:

    Gillett, S. E., W. H. Lehr, J. T. Wroclawski, and D. D. Clark (2001a). “Do Appliances Threaten Internet Innovation?” In: IEEE Communications Magazine 39.10, pp. 46–51. issn: 0163-6804. doi: 10.1109/35.956112.

    Gillett, S. E., W. H. Lehr, J. T. Wroclawski, and D. D. Clark (2001b). “The Disruptive User — Internet Appliances and the Management of Complexity”. In: BT Technology Journal 19.4, pp. 40–45. issn: 1358-3948. doi: 10.1023/A:1013774312186.

    Pouzin, L. (1973a). Interconnection of Packet Switching Networks. INWG Note 42. IFIP WG 6.1 (INWG). url:–INWG-Note-42.pdf.

    Pouzin (1976a). “The Network Business — Monopolies and Entrepreneurs”. In: ICCC ’76: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Computer Communication. Toronto, Canada. August 3–6, 1976. Ed. by P. K. Verma, pp. 563–567. Also published as INWG Legal/Political Note 6.

    Reed, D. P., J. H. Saltzer, and D. D. Clark (1998). “Commentary on “Active networking and end-to-end arguments””. In: IEEE Network 12.3, pp. 69–71. doi: 10.1109/65.690972. Part of a collection of three “Commentaries” edited by Thomas M. Chen and Alden W. Jackson.

    Saltzer J. H. (1999). “Open Access” is Just the Tip of the Iceberg. Online. url:

    Walden, D. C. and R. D. Rettberg (1975). “Gateway Design for Computer Network Interconnection”. In: Eurocomp 1975: Proceedings of the European Computing Conference on Communications Networks. London, UK. September 23–25, 1975. Ed. by D. L. A. Barber. Online Conferences, pp. 113–128. isbn: 0903796058. url:

    Also, their merit notwithstanding, I’d be hesitant to suggest the Zittrain and Schewick sources to students — for one they are fairly long, especially the latter; for another they might be found by readers to more slightly too far in the realm of speculation. It might here suffice to go for the following paper instead:

    Gaynor, M. S. and S. O. Bradner (2001). (2004). “A Real Options Metric to Value Network, Protocol, and Service Architecture”. In: ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review 34.5, pp. 31–38. url: (edited version with slightly different title).

  6. Christian Says:

    What a great set of comments! I am so happy that I posted this query on the blog. Thanks to everyone for being so generous with your time in responding.

    Steve: Doh! I can’t believe I didn’t put Abbate. Thank you.

    Matthias: You are fantastic. These are great. Some of these were totally unknown to me. Thank you.

  7. multicast » Blog Archive » A Milestone: 100 Comments Says:

    […] Comments Christian on Internet Innovation: The Big ReadMatthias on Internet Innovation: The Big ReadSteve on Internet Innovation: The Big ReadSonya Dunne […]

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