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University of Michigan School of Information

A headshot of Nathaniel Borenstein

Nathaniel Borenstein

Research Area Specialist Lead, Adjunct Lecturer in Information and Research Investigator, School of Information Email: [email protected] Phone: 000000000
Office: 105 S State St./4322 North Quad Personal website News About Nathaniel Borenstein


Nathaniel Borenstein has been involved in building the Internet since 1980. He is best known as author of the MIME standard for multimedia data on the net, which is used trillions of times every day. He founded First Virtual Holdings, the first Internet payment system, and 3 other companies. He was in charge of Research and Standards for IBM's Lotus Division for 8 years, and most recently was Chief Scientist at Mimecast for over a decade before returning to the UMSI Faculty in 2022.

Nathaniel was for many years on the Board, and briefly President, of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. He has 27 patents, and is working on finishing his fourth book, which is about how the Internet affects the human spiritual journey. More detail can be found at


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Areas of interest

Email and Other Interpersonal communication
Human Vision Augmentation
Preserving Internet History
Open standards
Ethical and Social Issues in Computing


Ph.D., M.S., Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
B.A., Mathematics and Religious Studies, Grinnell College

News about Nathaniel Borenstein

Four students wearing blue sweatshirts stand in the indoor conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, surrounded by greenery.
SO-ELL program nurtures student-led projects

A new UMSI program has created a symbiotic relationship between student organizations that need real-world projects, and clients like Matthaei Botanical Gardens that need solutions. 

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Nathaniel outside
Nathaniel Borenstein discusses the past, present and future of the internet

UMSI lecturer Nathaniel Borenstein has been involved with the creation of the internet since the 1980s. Here, he talks about its impact on democracy, what its future could look like and what social media companies owe us.

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