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

Matthew Kirschenbaum mkirschenbaum at gmail.com
Fri Jul 27 12:09:35 PDT 2018


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> 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
>
>


-- 
Matthew Kirschenbaum
Professor of English and Digital Studies
Director, Graduate Certificate in Digital Studies
University of Maryland
mkirschenbaum.net
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