America Online's Buddy List Network Honored by the Smithsonian Institution

April 6, 1998

Instant Message (tm) and Buddy List (tm) Features Allow Users to Communicate Privately, Instantly, with Friends, Families and Colleagues on the Internet Washington, D.C., April 6, 1998 -- America Online's AOL Buddy List Network -- technology that enables AOL members and non-members alike to see when friends, family and colleagues are on AOL or the Internet and to use the Instant Message (tm) feature to communicate with them in real time -- will become part of the Smithsonian Institution's Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology Innovation at the National Museum of American History today, when the 1998 Information Technology Innovation Collection is formally presented to the Institution. The AOL Buddy List Network -- which includes the Buddy List (tm) and Instant Message (tm) features on the AOL service and AOL Instant Messenger (tm) on the Internet -- now used by over 18 million people worldwide, has also been nominated for the annual Computerworld Smithsonian Award, which acknowledges contributions to society through information technology, in the Media, Arts and Entertainment award category. The AOL Buddy List Network is an easy, fun and convenient way to stay in touch with others, instantly -- anywhere on the Internet or AOL. Users of AOL's Buddy List Network can see when friends, family or co-workers are online, and hold simultaneous, private "conversations" with each other via personalized text messages -- for example, to say hello, confirm information, or find out about important projects at work. "America Online is using information technology to make great strides toward remarkable social achievement in arts and entertainment," said Dr. David Allison, Chairman of the National Museum of American History's Division of Information Technology and Society. Nominated by Mr. Mitchell Kertzman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sybase, Inc., America Online's work is a part of a collection that includes over 442 of the year's most innovative applications of technology from 40 states and 19 countries. "The benefits of instant online communications to our society are extraordinary," said David Gang, Senior Vice President, Strategic Development, AOL Interactive Services. "We are only just beginning to understand the power of AOL's Buddy List Network to keep people instantly in touch with family, friends and colleagues around the world." Mr. Gang added: "As cyberspace becomes an indispensable part of everyday life, more and more people are relying on the Internet and AOL to stay connected to people and information they care about. It's exciting for AOL and its Buddy List Network to be at the heart of this communications revolution." Each year, the Computerworld Smithsonian Chairmen's Committee nominates individuals who use information technology to improve society for inclusion in the Smithsonian's National IT Innovation Collection. Founded in 1989, the Computerworld Smithsonian Program searches for and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated vision and leadership as they strive to use information technology in innovative ways across ten categories: Business and Related Services; Education and Academia; Environment, Energy and Agriculture; Finance, Insurance and Real Estate; Government and Non-Profit Organizations; Manufacturing; Media, Arts and Entertainment; Medicine; Science; and Transportation. Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution is dedicated to the increase and diffusion of knowledge. According to Dan Morrow, Executive Director of the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards Program, "the materials submitted on behalf of America Online will enrich the Smithsonian's growing permanent collection on the Information Age, and help the Institution build an accurate historic record of the truly outstanding achievements being made in these remarkable times." Case Studies from the 1998 Collection will be made available to the public June 8th, on the Innovation Network web site at:, where the entire ten year collection is available to citizens, scholars and researchers worldwide.

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