[SIGCIS-Members] Origins of "archive" in computer science

Henry E Lowood lowood at stanford.edu
Mon Aug 6 11:47:47 PDT 2018


Matt,
Another method – duh – would be to use online databases such as INSPEC.  Found this, for example:
Short Note On Information Retrieval Systems Applicable To Archive Data
Éric De Grolier,
First Published September 1, 1965 Research Article
https://doi.org/10.1177/053901846500400313<https://doi.org/10.1177%2F053901846500400313>
Noticed that most uses of “archive data,” “data storage” etc. that popped up seem to be related to social science data systems; the first big ones were developed in the late 1960s, early 1970s, I believe, though I am no expert.
Henry

Henry Lowood, PhD
Curator for History of Science & Technology; Film & Media Collections
HSSG, Green Library, 557 Escondido Mall
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford CA 94305-6004
PH: 650-723-4602
EM: lowood at stanford.edu

From: Members <members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org> On Behalf Of Henry E Lowood
Sent: Monday, August 6, 2018 11:27 AM
To: Matthew Kirschenbaum <mkirschenbaum at gmail.com>; members <members at sigcis.org>
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Origins of "archive" in computer science

Matt,
As Paul already suggested, industry publications (including ads) would be a great place to start. The other place I would begin my search is in the various encyclopedias and published lists of terms.  That’s what I used to track down the use of “virtual” a while back.
Interestingly, even relatively recent encyclopedias do not define “archive.”  Just checked the 4th ed. Of the Encyclopedia of Computer Science on my shelf – not in the glossary of terms.  Only “archival storage” (twice) and “archive compression test” (once) are even listed in the general index.
Henry

Henry Lowood, PhD
Curator for History of Science & Technology; Film & Media Collections
HSSG, Green Library, 557 Escondido Mall
Stanford University Libraries
Stanford CA 94305-6004
PH: 650-723-4602
EM: lowood at stanford.edu<mailto:lowood at stanford.edu>

From: Members <members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org<mailto:members-bounces at lists.sigcis.org>> On Behalf Of Matthew Kirschenbaum
Sent: Friday, July 27, 2018 12:10 PM
To: members <members at sigcis.org<mailto:members at sigcis.org>>
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] Origins of "archive" in computer science

I've had a couple of additional backchannel responses to this (thank you) but nothing terribly decisive. Is the question too diffuse, I wonder? Too obscure? How would one go about running something like this down? What would be some good industry publications to check to try to track the emergence of "archive" as a computer systems term?

OED doesn't offer a usage in relation to computing or data before 1978, but this seems late to me; certainly Wang was using the language of an "archive" disk for much of the 1970s.

Best, Matt


On Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 2:23 PM, Matthew Kirschenbaum <mkirschenbaum at gmail.com<mailto:mkirschenbaum at gmail.com>> wrote:
Dear all,

I'm trying to find early exemplars of the use of the word "archive" in computer systems contexts, whether as a noun to denote an element of computer  architecture (i.e., the archive disk or archive tape) or as a verb, i.e. "I've archived those files."

Examples might include the TAR ("Tape ARchive") format, Wang's nomenclature of an "archive disk" in its systems, and Gmail's early mantra, "Archive, Don't Delete."

I'd love to run down some early instances of this sort of thing, which I assume goes back to the mainframe era.

Thank you--

--
Matthew Kirschenbaum
Professor of English and Digital Studies
Director, Graduate Certificate in Digital Studies
University of Maryland
mkirschenbaum.net<http://mkirschenbaum.net>



--
Matthew Kirschenbaum
Professor of English and Digital Studies
Director, Graduate Certificate in Digital Studies
University of Maryland
mkirschenbaum.net<http://mkirschenbaum.net>
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