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Issue No.04 - October-December (2007 vol.29)
pp: 8-15
Thomas J. Misa , Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota
ABSTRACT
This special issue of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing surveys a singular quarter century in the history of computing, with a focus on how the field has matured and how its intellectual questions have evolved.
INDEX TERMS
archiving, Charles Babbage Institute, history of computing, oral history, Arthur Norberg, Erwin Tomash
CITATION
Thomas J. Misa, "Arthur Norberg, the Charles Babbage Institute, and the History of Computing", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.29, no. 4, pp. 8-15, October-December 2007, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2007.52
REFERENCES
1. B. Galler, "About this Issue," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 1, no. 1, July 1979, pp. 4-5.
2. The first History of Programming Languages Conference was held in Los Angeles, 1-3 June 1978; the second, in Cambridge, Mass., 20-23 Apr. 1993; the third in San Diego, 9-10 June 2007. See http://research.ihost.com/hoplHOPL.htmlas well as T.J. Bergin, "A History of the History of Programming Languages," Comm. ACM , vol. 50, no. 5, 2007, pp. 69-74; doi.acm.org/10.1145/1230819.1230841.
3. See the special issue "Legacy of the Tomashes to Computing History," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 23, no. 4, 2001, pp. 2-104; and the set of newsletters available at http://www.cbi.umn.edu/aboutnewsletter.html . A key essay for understanding the complex history of CBI and CBF is A. Norberg, "A Perspective on the History of the Charles Babbage Institute and the Charles Babbage Foundation," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 23, no. 4, 2001, pp. 12-23.
4. CBI's names have varied in interesting ways. Originally conceived as the International Charles Babbage Society, it was formally incorporated as the Charles Babbage Institute. Its subtitles, through the years, have suggested that CBI was a center for information processing (reflecting a June 1979 agreement with AFIPS reported in the CBI Newsletter , vol. 1, no. 2, 1979), as well as for computing, computer science, or information sciences. In 2001, CBI became the Center for the History of Information Technology. See B.H. Bruemmer and E. Kaplan, "Realizing the Concept: A History of the CBI Archives," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 23, no. 4, 2001, pp. 29-38; on page 38, note 1.
5. The University of Minnesota's Board of Regents' minutes record that Paul Armer resigned as associate director of CBI effective 30 June 1981; http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/123456789/ 62/3UNA19810910.pdf.txt.
6. P. Gullard, "The Charles Babbage Institute for the History of Information Processing," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 2, no. 1, 1980, pp. 71-74, quote on p. 74.
7. The University of Michigan was the other finalist with a visit by the site selection committee; CBI Newsletter , vol. 2, no. 2, 1980.
8. Norberg served as CBI director during 1981–1993 and 1999–2006; Robert Seidel's five-year term as director of CBI was 1994–1999. As acting director, Aspray served for four months during 1989; Judy E. O'Neill, during 1993–1994. Shortly after the move to Minnesota, in early 1981, the Charles Babbage Institute and Charles Babbage Foundation were recognized as distinct entities. "The organization that has been known as the Charles Babbage Institute [original italics] for the History of Information Processing has been named the Charles Babbage Foundation [original italics]. ... What has been referred to as 'a center for the history of computing that will be located on the campus of some major university' has now assumed the name The Charles Babbage Institute for the History of Information Processing. This was done for practical reasons, essentially to clarify the difference between the administrative, policy, and fund-raising responsibilities of the parent body ..." See CBI Newsletter , vol. 3, no. 1, 1981, p. 2.
9. A. Norberg, "Twenty-Five Years of CBI," CBI Newsletter, vol. 26, no. 1, 2003, pp. 3-12, also in that issue see J. Yost, "CBI Historical Research," pp. 13-15, and E. Kaplan, "CBI Archives," p. 16.
10. A tour of this 600-foot-long underground facility usually persuades our visitors that CBI is indeed a serious place. I've paced out the total of our 250 individual archival collections at a bit more than 5,000 shelf feet. For information on Andersen Library and construction photos, see http://andersen.lib.umn.eduaboutandersen.html .
11. The best introduction to CBI's archiving activities remains B.H. Bruemmer and E. Kaplan, "Realizing the Concept: A History of the CBI Archives," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 23, no. 4, 2001, pp. 29-38.
12. For a listing of CBI staff publications, see http://www.cbi.umn.edu/researchstaff_publications.pdf .
13. J.R. Yost, "CBI/Tomash Fellowship: Sponsoring a Generation of Scholars in the History of Information Processing," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 23, no. 4, 2001, pp. 24-28.
14. M.S. Mahoney, "The History of Computing in the History of Technology," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 10, no. 2, 1988, pp. 113-125.
15. See D. Mackenzie, "The Influence of the Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories on the Development of Supercomputing," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 13, no. 2, 1991, pp. 179-201, W. Aspray and B.O. Williams, "Arming American Scientists: NSF and the Provision of Scientific Computing Facilities for Universities, 1950–1973," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 16, no. 4, 1994, pp. 60-74; W. Aspray, "Command and Control, Documentation, and Library Science: The Origins of Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 21, no. 4, 1999, pp. 4-20; G.C. Bowker, Memory Practices in the Sciences , MIT Press, 2005; C. Hine, "Databases as Scientific Instruments and their Role in the Ordering of Scientific Work," Social Studies of Science , vol. 36, 2006, pp. 269-298; J. Agar, "What Difference Did Computers Make?" Social Studies of Science , vol. 36, 2006, pp. 869-907.
16. There is a sizable literature on computing and gender. See the special issues on "Women in Computing," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 18, no. 3, 1996, pp. 3-55; and "Women and Gender in the History of Computing," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 25, no. 4, 1996, pp. 4-72. See also J.S. Light, "When Computers Were Women," Technology and Culture , vol. 40, no. 3, 1999, pp. 455-483; J. McGrath Cohoon and W. Aspray, eds., Women and Information Technology: Research on Underrepresentation , MIT Press, 2006; V.A. Ladesen, "The Strength of Numbers: Strategies to Include Women into Computer Science," Social Studies of Science , vol. 37, 2007, pp. 67-92. CBI is planning a workshop-conference on the theme of history, gender, and computing for May 2008. We wish to explore gender also through awareness of masculinity studies. See R. Oldenziel, Making Technology Masculine: Men, Women and Modern Machines in America, 1870–1945 , Amsterdam Univ. Press, 1999; M. Lohan and W. Faulkner, "Masculinities and Technologies," Men and Masculinities , vol. 6, no. 4, 2004, pp. 319-329.
17. J. Markoff, What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, Viking Penguin, 2005, T. Friedman, Electric Dreams: Computers in American Culture , New York Univ. Press, 2005; F. Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism , Univ. of Chicago Press, 2006; M. Ito, D. Okabe, and M. Matsuda, eds., Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life, MIT Press, 2005. A title search for "culture" in the Annals database retrieves just one article: L.L. Beranek, "BBN's Earliest Days: Founding a Culture of Engineering Creativity," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 27, no. 2, 2005, pp. 6-14.
18. A.L. Norberg, "The Origins of the Electronics Industry on the Pacific Coast," Proc. IEEE, vol. 64, no. 9, 1976, pp. 1314-1322.
19. B.H. Bruemmer and S. Hochheiser, The High-Technology Company: A Historical Research and Archival Guide, Charles Babbage Inst., Univ. of Minnesota, 1989, was embraced by the Society of American Archivists for setting standards in the field of corporate archiving. In 1997, Henry Lowood commented: "In the history of computing, the three indispensable guides remain Resources for the History of Computing , edited by Bruce Bruemmer, The High-Technology Company: A Historical Research and Appraisal Guide by Bruce Bruemmer and Sheldon Hochheiser, both published by the Babbage Institute, and Archives of Data-Processing History: A Guide to Major U.S. Collections , edited by James Cortada and published by Greenwood Press." See Lowood, "Archives and On-Line Resources," 15 June 1997, revised 27 June 2005; http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/hasrg/ histscicomparch.html.
20. For further discussion of CBI's ongoing practices and future challenges in archiving, oral history, and research projects, see T.J. Misa, "Organizing the History of Computing: 'Lessons Learned' at the Charles Babbage Institute," paper prepared for Conference on the History of Nordic Computing, 21-23 Aug. 2007; IFIPS Press, forthcoming.
21. J.W. Cortada, The Digital Hand: How Computers Changed the Work of American Manufacturing, Transportation, and Retail Industries, Oxford Univ. Press, 2004, J.W. Cortada, The Digital Hand: How Computers Changed the Work of American Financial , Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment Industries , vol. 2, Oxford Univ. Press, 2006; and J.W. Cortada, The Digital Hand: How Computers Changed the Work of American Public Sector Industries , vol. 3, Oxford Univ. Press, 2007.
22. C. Fischer, America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940, Univ. California Press, 1992, E. von Hippel, The Sources of Innovation , Oxford Univ. Press, 1988; E. von Hippel, Democratizing Innovation , MIT Press, 2005; R. Schwartz Cowan, "The Consumption Junction: A Proposal for Research Strategies in the Sociology of Technology," The Social Construction of Technological Systems , W.E. Bijker, T.P. Hughes, and T. Pinch, eds., MIT Press, 1987, pp. 261-280; S. Wyatt, "Non-Users Also Matter: The Construction of Users and Non-Users of the Internet," How Users Matter: The Co-construction of Users and Technology , N. Oudshoorn and T. Pinch, eds., MIT Press, 2005, pp. 67-80; J. Yates, "How Business Enterprises Use Technology: Extending the Demand-Side Turn," Enterprise and Society , vol. 7, no. 3, 2006, pp. 422-455; D. Edgerton, The Shock of the Old , Oxford Univ. Press, 2007.
23. C. Baum, The System Builders: The Story of SDC, System Development Corporation, 1981, p. quote on p. 51, The SDC records (1955–1982) are embedded in CBI's records of the Burroughs Corporation, which acquired SDC in 1980; see CBI 90 series 98.
24. Published by MIT Press, 2003. Quote from review in J. Am. History , vol. 91, no. 1, 2004, p. 345.
25. U. Hashagen, R. Keil-Slawik, and A.L. Norberg eds. History of Computing: Software Issues, Springer Verlag, 2002,, For a report on the "Unbundling History" conference, see Events and Sightings, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 24, no. 1, 2002, pp. 90-94; see also B. Grad, "A Personal Recollection: IBM's Unbundling of Software and Services," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 24, no. 1, 2002, pp. 64-71.
26. The "Software History Bibliography," 2003, is available at http://www.cbi.umn.edu/shpbibliography.html .
27. M. Goetz, "Memoirs of a Software Pioneer: Part I," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 24, no. 1, 2002, pp. 43-56, "Memoirs of a Software Pioneer: Part 2," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 24, no. 4, 2002, pp. 14-31; E.E. Keet, "A Personal Recollection of Software's Early Days (1960–1979), Part 1," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 26, no. 4, 2004, pp. 46-61, and "A Personal Recollection of Software's Early Days (1960–1979): Part 2" IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , vol. 27, no. 4, 2005, pp. 31-45.
28. See "Software for Europe (SOFT-EU)," programmatic introduction to a three-year effort (launched June 2007); http://www.esf.org/activities/eurocores/ programmes/inventing-europe/projectslist-of-projects.html .
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