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What Should We Collect to Preserve the History of Software?
October-December 2006 (vol. 28 no. 4)
pp. 112, 110-111
Len Shustek, Computer History Museum
Software is more than cards, tapes and disks; it is the meaning of the bits that they contain. To properly preserve the history of computing, we must preserve the software code, especially the source code, for analysis by future historians.

1. M.S. Mahoney, "Issues in the History of Computing," Proc. ACM/SIGPLAN 2nd History of Programming Languages Conf., ACM Press, 1993, pp. 772–781.
2. D.E. Knuth, "Computer Programming as an Art," Comm. ACM, vol. 17, no. 12, 1974, pp. 667–673.
3. A.P. Ershov, "Aesthetics and Human Factor in Programming," Comm. ACM, vol. 15, no. 7, 1972, pp. 501–505.
4. P. Moltzberger, "Aesthetics and Programming," Proc. ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM Press, 1982, pp. 247–250.
5. D. Swade, "The Construction of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, special issue on historical reconstructions, vol. 27, no. 3, 2005, pp. 70–88.
6. Dag Spicer and Henry Lowood, coined the "attic and parlor" terminology in the Call for Participation for the Workshop on Collecting Historical Software that was held at the Computer History Museum on 5 May 2006.
7. The International Workshop on Mining Software Repositories (http:/msr.uwaterloo.ca) held in 2004, 2005, and 2006 reported on techniques and results of studying contemporary repositories; similar ideas could be used for historical software.
8. "The patent office has come under increasing pressure in recent years from critics who contend that it issues [software] patents without adequate investigation of earlier inventions." J. Markoff, "U.S. Office Joins an Effort to Improve Software Patents," New York Times,10 Jan. 2006.
9. D. Swade, "Virtual Objects: The End of the Real?," Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, vol. 28, no. 4, 2003, p. 274.
10. D. Swade, "Collecting Software: Preserving Information in an Object-Centred Culture," History of Computing: Software Issues, Springer, 2002, pp. 232–235.
11. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing special issue on historical reconstructions, vol. 27, no. 3, 2005; http:/opac.ieeecomputersociety.org/ opac?year=2005&volume=27& issue=3&acronym=annals.
12. M. Campbell-Kelly, "Software Preservation: Accumulation and Simulation," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 24, no. 1, 2002, pp. 95–96.

Index Terms:
Preserving software, source code repository, software history, history of programming
Citation:
Len Shustek, "What Should We Collect to Preserve the History of Software?," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 112, 110-111, Oct.-Dec. 2006, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2006.78
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