[SIGCIS-Members] HP Archives Destroyed in Recent California Fires

Andrew Russell arussell at arussell.org
Tue Oct 31 03:25:50 PDT 2017


Brian, thanks for sending this around and keeping this issue in view.  Thanks also to Chuck for being vocal about it. 

The headline and framing of the Spectrum article bothers me, asserting that this is "a wake-up call for computer historians."

We would be hard pressed to find any computer historians - or any historians, period - who don’t already know that more should be done to preserve and maintain records of all kinds (including corporate archives) and make them available to researchers.  Len Shustek’s response yesterday underscores CHM’s considerable effort and investment in this area, and there are dozens and dozens of subscribers on this list who also do this kind of work (staff at CBI & Hagley jump to mind, but there are many others).  

This is as good a time as any to highlight David Kirsch’s work on this subject (through the examples of the Dot Com Archive and the Brobeck Closed Archive), nicely summarized in http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/series/pioneers/kirsch.html <http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/series/pioneers/kirsch.html>. 

Andy

 



> On Oct 31, 2017, at 2:04 AM, Brian Berg <brianberg at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> A thread I started on another listserver resulted in this story:
> 
> Loss of Hewlett-Packard Archive a Wake-Up Call for Computer Historians <https://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/tech-history/silicon-revolution/loss-of-hewlettpackard-archive-a-wakeup-call-for-computer-historians>
> 
> Note the important comment from HP at the end of this story.
> 
> Brian Berg
> 
> On Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 3:44 PM, Chuck House <housec1839 at gmail.com <mailto:housec1839 at gmail.com>> wrote:
> I stand corrected, thanks
> 
>  
> 
> From: Members <members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org <mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org>> on behalf of Len Shustek <len at shustek.com <mailto:len at shustek.com>>
> Date: Monday, October 30, 2017 at 3:33 PM
> To: SIGCIS Listserver <members at sigcis.org <mailto:members at sigcis.org>>
> Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] HP Archives Destroyed in Recent California Fires
> 
>  
> 
> At 02:32 PM 10/30/2017, Brian Berg wrote:
> 
> 
> Chuck House responded to me re: this sad news with:
> ...
> 5. Ironic, that the Computer History Museum here in town, never tried to get this archive
> 
> 
> That's not true. We had a good relationship over the years with the two main HP archivists, and offered many times to get more involved with their archive -- ranging from getting a copy of the catalog, to getting copies of documents, to taking it over. They declined our participation. 
> 
> We weren't as aggressive as perhaps we could have been because HP was one of the few companies (unlike many others I could name) who seemed to be taking the preservation of their history seriously, and they were putting resources into the effort. Clearly that wasn't enough.
> 
> Len
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