[SIGCIS-Members] Fact Checking Before Internet

Brian Berg brianberg at gmail.com
Sun Dec 2 10:54:31 PST 2018


A tool that was first operable with NASA records in 1966, and which became
commercially available in 1972, is DIALOG.  The IEEE recently awarded the
DIALOG Online Search System with a Milestone based on what I documented on
this webpage
<http://ieeemilestones.ethw.org/Milestone-Proposal:The_DIALOG_Online_Search_System,_1966-1970>.
A vast array of data not accessible via the Internet is available for
searching via the paid service ProQuest Dialog
<https://www.proquest.com/products-services/ProQuest-Dialog.html> - you
literally get what you pay for, with access to medical research, scholarly
papers, etc., that will never be posted for free on the Internet.  The
USPTO uses this tool as part of its prior art searches for patent
applications.

The citation for what will be cast in a pair of bronze plaques (at some
point in the coming year, to be placed at Lockheed and at the Computer
History Museum) is here:


*DIALOG Online Search System, 1966DIALOG was the first interactive, online
search system addressing large databases while allowing iterative
refinement of results. DIALOG was developed at Lockheed Palo Alto Research
Laboratory in 1966, extended through contracts with NASA, and offered
commercially in 1972. Its speed, ease of use, and wide range of data
content attracted professional users worldwide including scientists,
attorneys, educators and librarians. DIALOG preceded major Internet search
tools by more than two decades.*

I highlighted the last sentence because of its relevance to this thread,
and there is a wealth of info included on the above linked webpage.  This
tool has always allowed iterative searches (also highlighted), a unique
feature at the time, and which made it a particularly effective tool from
the time of its inception.
_________________________
Brian A. Berg / bberg at StanfordAlumni.org
Berg Software Design
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<http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/Milestones:List_of_IEEE_Milestones>
Coordinator for Region 6 <http://www.ieee-region6.org/>
IEEE SCV Section <http://www.ieee.org/scv/> Past Chair / IEEE-CNSV
<http://www.CaliforniaConsultants.org> Board Director
IEEE Silicon Valley Tech History Committee
<http://www.SiliconValleyHistory.com/> Chair



On Sun, Dec 2, 2018 at 9:14 AM Julie Cohn <cohnconnor at gmail.com> wrote:

> James and Bill -
>
> I’ve mentioned your project to a friend who has been a long-time writer
> for Texas Monthly, the New York Times, and other publications. She is going
> to provide me with some contact information later this week. I’ll message
> you off-list with details.
>
> Great idea for a project!
>
> -Julie
>
> *****************************
> Julie Cohn, Ph.D.
> Research Historian, Center for Public History
> University of Houston, 315 McElhinney Hall
> Houston, TX 77204-3007
> cohnconnor at gmail.com
>
> Author: *The Grid: Biography of an American Technology** (MIT Press,
> 2017)*
> https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/grid
>
>
>
>
>
> On Dec 1, 2018, at 8:42 AM, James Cortada <jcortada at umn.edu> wrote:
>
> Bill Aspray and I are exploring how fact checking was done between the
> early 1950s and the mid-1990s using computers and networks, that is to say,
> before the wide use of the Internet, snopes, Wiki etc. If you are aware of
> specific examples, or documentation, about this use of computing, please
> let us know. We are interested in all manner of fact checking, not limiting
> it to press challenges of statements by politicians, hoaxes, and faulty
> scientific research.  Thanks for your help.
>
> --
> James W. Cortada
> Senior Research Fellow
> Charles Babbage Institute
> University of Minnesota
> jcortada at umn.edu
> 608-274-6382
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