[SIGCIS-Members] New CBI Website/Pandemic times research w/ CBI materials (born digital/digitized collections online, oral histories, scanning services...)

Jeffrey Yost yostx003 at umn.edu
Wed Feb 3 16:14:18 PST 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Wanted to share that we at the Charles Babbage Institute for Computing,
Information & Culture (CBI) did a complete redesign of the CBI Website (a
major  half year undertaking as we had 8,800 web pages!). CBI
Archivist/Curator Amanda Wick and I helped, but the lion's share was done
by CBI Admin. Melissa Dargay, who did a tremendous job!  CBI's new website
<https://cse.umn.edu/cbi>  (Note the old URL has redirects to this, as do
core areas such as *Interfaces*, collections, oral histories, etc).

*In these pandemic times, I wanted to highlight that CBI has considerable
material for primary research online.  I was recently asked by a UMN HSTM
faculty colleague to teach a graduate seminar session on CBI oral history
methods/resources and other history of tech and science digital primary
resources at CBI (and beyond). So thought I'd share a few things on our
materials available remotely in case it might be helpful to you or your

   - Before jumping to the digital resources, I will start with the readily
   digitizable/scannable. We have over 320 collections of print/manuscript
   materials--7,000 plus feet.  Given detailed CBI Finding Aids, and the
   nature of particular collections, some are especially conducive to
   ascertaining smaller discrete portions where modest sized scanning orders
   can be placed (scanning is done at relatively low rates, basically at cost,
   by Univ. Libraries, we are a partnership of HSTM/CSE and UL). Plan well in
   advance as scanning orders done by limited staff in the library building to
   maintain safety, please check with Amanda.

A few examples of such materials.... the wide ranging gray literature of
the National Bureau of Standards Computer Lit. Collection (NBS collected
all reports it could on computing from gov., industry, white papers, etc.
for 30 years and NBS/NIST gave them to us) consists of 10,000s of reports
on virtually all areas of computing from the 1950 to 1970s, every title is
in the FA.  Another example is the Social Issues in Computing Collection of
ephemera, pamphlets, booklets, books, and manuscripts on computing and
race, gender, labor, GBLTQIA... materials highly conducive to research in
the social history and sociology of computing.

   - CBI has some exciting born-digital collections on such topics as
   Internet history and standards, Seymour Cray/Cray Research, graphics, etc.
   - About 500 oral histories available in full text online, most done by
   CBI historians on NSF, NEH, DARPA, and Sloan sponsored projects--we have
   special concentrations of oral histories in some of the core following
   areas, and are continually adding to our collection (I am currently doing
   two oral history projects, including one for ACM on HCI):
      - gender/women''s history of computing/software
      - computer security; computer networking
      - AI, ML
      - HCI
      - Graphics
      - Time-Sharing
      - CDC, IBM, IT industries
      - scientific computing, etc.
   - We have more than 275 shorter interviews with different categories of
   users of NSF's cyberinfrastructure FastLane (faculty, staff, program
   officers, developers designers, NSF top managers), all done by Tom Misa and
   me. Interviews rich for rhetorical analysis on IT and the history of
   science or other topics and framings wholly different from what Tom and I
   used them for in our *FastLane: Managing Science in the Internet World*
   - Of CBI's 150,000 plus photographs many thousands of selected
   photographs have been scanned, especially in Burroughs and Control Data
   Collections but other people, firms, tech, settings, as well.

To get started Search the CBI collections

Amanda and I are always delighted to advise and assist with our collections
and their use.

Also, if you haven't read the Smithsonian's Paul Ceruzzi's recent essay on
the infrastructure and materiality of the cloud in *Interfaces: Essays and
Reviews* in Computing and Culture, Interfaces: Essays and Reviews in
Computing and Culture <https://cse.umn.edu/cbi/interfaces>  please check
it.  *And please consider writing an essay for Interfaces. We have some
very exciting material in the works. Please add to it!!!*

Best, Jeff

*"Injustice wears the same harsh face wherever it shows itself."*-Ralph

Jeffrey R. Yost, Ph.D.
Director, Charles Babbage Institute
Research Professor, Program in the History of Science, Technology, and

222  21st Avenue South
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

612 624 5050 Phone
612 625 8054 Fax
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