[SIGCIS-Members] Query about non-English computing oral histories

Alberts, Gerard G.Alberts at uva.nl
Wed Feb 4 09:46:58 PST 2015

Dear Janet, Melissa,
I conducted a series of interview with women computers from the 1950s in Dutch. The results are not online. Contact me off list for the details.
Kind regards, Gerard Alberts
Van: members-bounces at sigcis.org [members-bounces at sigcis.org] namens Janet Abbate [abbate at vt.edu]
Verzonden: woensdag 4 februari 2015 16:04
Aan: Sigcis
CC: melissaterras at gmail.com
Onderwerp: [SIGCIS-Members] Query about non-English computing oral histories

I am forwarding a query from Melissa Terras, who asks if anyone knows of oral histories of women in computing that are not in English. Does anyone know of any?

Melissa has a blog with information about early women in computing in Italy (see link below) that may be of interest to SIGCIS members.  "From 1949, an Italian Jesuit priest called Father Roberto Busa<http://www.osservatoreromano.va/portal/dt?JSPTabContainer.setSelected=JSPTabContainer%2FDetail&last=false%3D&path=%2Fnews%2Fcultura%2F2011%2F184q11-Lettore-fermati----morto-padre-Busa.html&title=Lettore+fermati%21+%C3%83%C2%88+morto+padre+Busa&locale=en> (November 13, 1913 – August 9, 2011) pioneered the use of computing for linguistic and literary analysis, teaming up with IBM to produce an index of the works of St Thomas Aquinas<http://www.corpusthomisticum.org/it/index.age>."



Begin forwarded message:

From: Melissa Terras <melissaterras at gmail.com<mailto:melissaterras at gmail.com>>
Date: February 3, 2015 6:21:12 AM EST
To: abbate at vt.edu<mailto:abbate at vt.edu>
Subject: Oral History of women computer programmers
Reply-To: m.terras at ucl.ac.uk<mailto:m.terras at ucl.ac.uk>

Dear Janet,

I hope you dont mind me writing. I’m a big fan of your book, Recoding Gender, Women's Changing Participation in Computing, which has been an invaluable help as I work with a colleague on a slice of computing history in my discipline (humanities computing, now known as digital humanities): we have been undertaking an oral history of women in Italy that helped with the first major project in Humanities Computing in the 1950s. See my blog post http://melissaterras.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/for-ada-lovelace-day-father-busas.html which kicked this all off - following putting these pics up, we managed to identify various surviving women in the pictures. We’re writing up our findings now, after a successful trip to Milan to meet with and interview them.

My question is this - all the oral histories of women in the early days of computing I can find are in the English language. Would you know of any other set of oral histories in this area that are not undertaken in English? I have had a good look, but can’t dig anything up, and thought I would drop you a line! I know that you undertook some interviews with Estonian computer programmers - were those in English or Estonian?

There are obviously methodological issues about using oral histories in translation, and comparing our approach to others in this area would be very useful. Any pointers gratefully received - or confirmation that you haven’t seen anything in any other language other than English would be useful, too!



Melissa M. Terras MA MSc DPhil CLTHE CITP FHEA
Director, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities
Vice Dean of Research (Projects), UCL Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Professor of Digital Humanities
Department of Information Studies
Foster Court
University College London
Gower Street

Tel: 020-7679-7206 (direct), 020-7679-7204 (dept), 020-7383-0557 (fax)
Email: m.terras at ucl.ac.uk<mailto:m.terras at ucl.ac.uk>
Web: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/dis/people/melissaterras
Blog: http://melissaterras.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @melissaterras

Dr. Janet Abbate
Associate Professor, Science & Technology in Society
Co-director, National Capital Region STS program
Virginia Tech

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