[SIGCIS-Members] 2010: SIGCIS's Year in Review

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Thu Dec 30 14:22:31 PST 2010

Dear SIGCIS members,

I hope this end of year message finds you all well and in a relaxed holiday
mood. SIGCIS has had another good year, reaching new heights on every
measurable aspect of our activities. The number of members reached a new
high (over 250), the number and quality of contributions to the email list
was greater than ever before, we raised more money at our annual lunch with
our book auctions and small than ever before ($1,486) and gave out more
travel grants (www.sigcis.org/travelaward) to participants than ever before
($2,400). Our second annual workshop received more submissions than the
first, and more people attended. The Mahoney Fund (www.sigcis.org/mahoney)
holds its highest balance to date (over $8,000) after its best year of
donations so far (at least $2,850). So does our operating account (around

For the most part, then, it was a year of consolidation and incremental
growth. If something can be done annually for several years then it becomes
a tradition, and perhaps the most crucial stumbling block is doing something
twice. SIGCIS made the second Computer History Museum award
(http://www.sigcis.org/chmprize), to Atsushi Akera for his book Computing a
Natural World.  The second SIGCIS Workshop,
http://www.sigcis.org/workshop10, was a great success. See the full report
at http://www.sigcis.org/node/13. We are already planning for next year's.
SHOT's 2011 meeting is collocated with the IEEE Annals of the History of
Computing editorial board meeting, as well as with several scholarly
societies, and so we anticipate a particularly good turnout among the
field's best known scholars. 

Despite our focus on institutional sustainability the SIGCIS team did launch
several new projects. These fit with our philosophy of looking for simple,
easy and low cost ways to strengthen the international scholarly community
in history of computing. This year's breakout hit was the syllabus
repository (http://www.sigcis.org/syllabi). It now holds around forty
syllabi showcasing a broad range of approaches to teaching in the area.
(Here's a new year resolution: if you have a new syllabus and are willing to
share it please send a copy now to secretary at sigcis.org). Our team of
international vice presidents added new resource guides for the history of
computing in Britain (http://www.sigcis.org/britain) and Japan
(http://www.sigcis.org/japan). We also added a new edition of Anne
Fitzpatrick's Pioneers of Soviet Computing to the Member Contributions area
(http://www.sigcis.org/contributions). Next year we will be looking for new
ways to strengthen this part of the website.

Another new initiative is currently unfolding. Behind the scenes we updated
the site this year to use a current release of Drupal, fixing some glitches
that had accumulated over the years. Our platform includes blogging and
comment capabilities, and we have been experimenting with the best way to
use it. Chris McDonald of Princeton and Marie Hicks of Duke have recently
joined the SIGCIS executive committee (http://www.sigcis.org/node/6) and
have taken special responsibility for this. Dag Spicer will also be blogging
to keep us up to date with events at the Computer History Museum. You can
see the latest from them at http://www.sigcis.org/blog. All SIGCIS members
can login to post comments. If you would like your own blog on the site them
please contact us. In the future we will be experimenting with ways to use
blogs, wikis, and the email list together - for example by asking a question
by email and then having answers accumulate on a blog page.

Another good new year resolution: check your entry in our member directory
at http://www.sigcis.org/members and make any updates needed by logging in
at http://www.sigcis.org/user.

Thanks to all of you who have contributed to SIGCIS over the past year,
whether as email posters, organizers, donors, syllabus providers, bidders in
the book auction, workshop attendees, or readers of our website and
messages. If you have ideas on how to make 2011 another record breaking year
for the SIG, or would like to get involved as a volunteer, then please get
in touch.

Happy holidays,

Tom Haigh, SIGCIS chair


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