• In the space of a few months the proliferation of 20-year anniversaries has provoked a series of reflections on the past and musings on the future:
    • 20 years of the Italian Academic and Research Network GARR,
    • 20 years of the World Wide Web,
    • 20 years from the foundation of the Internet Society.
  • The essay available here, sixth in the series and first in the collection "The Internet in Italy: archives and studies", concerns the last of these anniversaries, ISOC's, but also aims to contribution in some measure to the more general reflections. In gathering and organizing the original sources and memoirs of key players, we have also tried to provide non-technical readers with some understanding of how, as an "old boy" of the first generation of Italian networking says on the cover page: " these last 20 years have changed the world more than the last 20 centuries. And the fundamental factor in this change has been Information and Communication Technologies ..." Scientists do not interpret the world, they "create universes", wrote a historian of ideas: in that created universe which is the interconnection of networks, things "either work or don't work".
  • If from reading this introduction the reader does not feel like navigating among the essential maps of the Internet (and of its functional co-ordination, ISOC), it means this essay "hasn't worked". If however it stays within hand's reach for ease of consultation, on bedside tables or desktops (the reports on the Italian Internet can naturally be read on paper and online), this material will have served its purpose.
  • The CNR and INFN together participated in the foundation of the Internet Society in 1992, and in the original project to enable synchronized technological and civil evolution of automated information: neutral, without intermediaries, without discrimination of access or content.
  • With the explosive transfer of the Internet from academia and research to the domain of social networks, the market and the economy, the Internet Society changed somewhat to include civil memberships and interdisciplinary skills.
  • Many use the net for work, others to share a guideline which is far from banal in troubled times: "the Internet is for everyone".
  • And especially one, to honour the short intense life of the first individual member of ISOC, Jon Postel, a man who loved freedom, freedom for all.
  • The idea for these reports grew from discussions between Abba and Trumpy with Frederic Donck (ISOC Regional Bureau Director for Europe) and Jacek Gajewski (ISOC Manager Chapter Development for Europe), in Rome in late 2011, on the contribution of Italy to the forthcoming celebrations in Geneva, next April 2012.
  • We would like to include all contributors, who drew up the articles assigned in short order, in the special thanks we wish to extend personally to our friends who offered the "congratulations card" featured on the covers: Capriz, Cerf, Degli Antoni, Kahn, Filippazzi and Meo.

Editorial group: Abba, Giunchi, Marino, Trumpy e Valente.

Happy Birthday ISOC