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

Chuck House housec1839 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 31 09:01:43 PDT 2017


Andy, I think back to Jennifer Light’s wonderfully inspiring talk for SIGCIS a few years ago, where she said something to the effect that there are roughly 400 computer historians in the world, divided into about five camps which deign to speak to each other.   I took that to be an invitation for amateur historians to join the fray, hence my little monograph “Preserving our Digital Revolution Heritage” (Lulu press--yeah, hardly pedigreed).  http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/charles-house/digital-revolution-heritage/paperback/product-22378873.html 

 

But I also came back to CHM (where I’ve been a Trustee for 27 years), and looked at what we DON’T have instead of what we DO have.  And was frankly shocked by the gaping open holes—local companies such as SPC, SGI, SUN, and even HP , not to mention Tandem, etc have next to no oral histories on file amongst our 800 or so in the collection.   And who selects those?  Historians, and advocates—not the companies.  So in that sense, Jennifer’s comments could be viewed alongside Tekla’s headline as complimentary thoughts rather than contradictory.

 

We’ve immense tasks ahead of us….

Chuck

 

From: Members <members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org> on behalf of Andrew Russell <arussell at arussell.org>
Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 3:25 AM
To: SIGCIS Listserver <members at sigcis.org>
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] HP Archives Destroyed in Recent California Fires

 

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. 

 

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

 

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> wrote:

I stand corrected, thanks

 

From: Members <members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org> on behalf of Len Shustek <len at shustek.com>
Date: Monday, October 30, 2017 at 3:33 PM
To: SIGCIS Listserver <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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_______________________________________________
This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org

 

_______________________________________________
This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org


_______________________________________________ This email is relayed from members at sigcis.org, the email discussion list of SHOT SIGCIS. Opinions expressed here are those of the member posting and are not reviewed, edited, or endorsed by SIGCIS. The list archives are at http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/ and you can change your subscription options at http://lists.sigcis.org/listinfo.cgi/members-sigcis.org

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