December 8, 2010

CBI Closed 12/24-12/31

The University of Minnesota will be closed for a week at the end of December, so CBI will be unavailable for research needs. All research questions received during the break will be addressed in January.

Have a happy holiday!

June 2, 2010

Transitions at CBI

Effective this coming Monday, June 7, our archivist Arvid Nelsen will be moving on from CBI to head a new unit within our Archives and Special Collections Department. The unit combines two former distinct units and will be called Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts (SCRBM). We are sorry to see him go, but we know he'll do a great job in his new role.

I am pleased to announce that I have been appointed the new CBI Archivist, effective the same date. I am very much looking forward to continuing to work with all of you in my new role, and I am excited to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Please see the current issue of the CBI Newsletter for more details about this change and other current happenings at CBI.

November 4, 2009

Tomash Fellowship and Norberg Travel Fund Announcements

Please see CBI's website here and here for announcements for CBI's upcoming awards. The Adelle and Erwin Tomash Graduate Fellowship is given each academic year to a graduate student working on a dissertation in the history of computing. We have also recently begun to award the Arthur L. Norberg Travel Fund, providing two short-term grants for researchers to travel to CBI for use of our archival collections.

December 17, 2008

Hours over Holidays

We will be closed for research on December 25 and 26 and January 1. We will be open as usual for the remainder of the holiday week, with the exception of Saturdays, though I will be out of town for much of the week. Happy holidays!

September 16, 2008

Out of Office

I will be out of the office from September 18 through October 1. During that time, please direct your reference questions to Arvid, at 612-625-4867 or Thanks for your understanding!

August 25, 2008

Week Away in San Francisco

For the rest of this week, Arvid and I will be on the West Coast at the annual Society of American Archivists conference, so we will likely not be able to respond to your questions until next week.

Remember, after Labor Day, Andersen Library will be open from 9-1 on Saturdays, with limited access for researchers.

July 28, 2008

Andersen Library Hours Change

Starting this September, the Andersen Library extended hours will be changing to (it is hoped) support more researchers. We will no longer be open late on Thursday nights. Instead, we will have Saturday hours, from 9:00 to 1:00 every week while school is in session (excluding holidays).

While this new schedule should support more walk-in researchers, our ability to page materials will still be somewhat limited on Saturdays. So, it will still be best to make an appointment with a staff member who works with your collection.

To sum up, our new hours starting after Labor Day will be 8:30 to 4:30 Monday-Friday and 9:00-1:00 Saturday.

July 7, 2008

Day in the Life, Part II

Herein the second installment of that riveting series, A Day in the Life of an Archivist. Today I spent some time working on creating what we in the biz call "vertical files" (any archivists out there know the origin of this term?). Basically, a vertical files are reference files - materials that aren't actually archival collections, but can still be useful to researchers. Vertical files might contain photocopied newspaper articles, pamphlets, or other reference material on a certain topic. I am lucky because former CBI employees kept extensive files on computing companies, individuals, and other subject areas. None of the files have, up till now, been officially accessible to researchers, but they could be a useful starting place for many research topics and so I've been moving things around, getting our new vertical files ready to be available.

June 20, 2008

Closed next week

Next Tuesday through Friday (June 24-27), CBI will be closed to researchers, as both Arvid and I will be in Los Angeles at the RBMS preconference. I will be checking email periodically, so if you have any questions, you can get in touch that way.

June 13, 2008

A Day in the Life

Decided this morning to try something new with the blog. Along with announcements and other information, I will hereby be presenting a series called from now on, very creatively, "A Day in the Life of an Archivist." This is on the off chance that you are interested in what actually goes on behind the scenes at an archives, and because I've heard that one of the code-word professions for CIA operatives is "archivist" because no one knows what it actually means.

Feedback is most welcome.

June 13 (Friday the 13th): We recently got these two donations that I mentioned yesterday, and so this morning I've been going through one of them, seeing what's included and reboxing it for later processing. I'm also doing some preliminary light preservation work, such as dismantling a scrapbook and putting its contents in an acid-free folder. (In case you're interested, I do this because many times, it's not the album itself that has research value, it's the contents, and a folder is much better for preserving the contents than plasticky, sticky pages.)

We have three research appointments for today, and so I'll be doing some work with researchers this afternoon.

March 10, 2008

2008-09 Tomash Fellow

An announcement courtesy of Jeff:

The 2008-09 Tomash Fellow is Ian Walsh, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Organization Studies, Carroll School of Management, Boston College University. He will be visiting CBI to use a variety of our collections (DECUS, Market Research, Auerbach, etc.) and present his ongoing research in the coming academic year. His dissertation is on the history of organizational afterlife of IT corporations (The degree of identification of former employees with a company after it ceases to exist, and the culture, practices, methods, etc. that live on in new corporate entities/activities.) He is doing cases on the history of two minicomputing firms and their afterlife--Digital Equipment (DEC) and Data General.

His web page is at .

CBI awards the Tomash Fellowship annually to a graduate student doing doctoral dissertation research in the history of computing.

Congratulations, Ian!

January 2, 2008

CBI Historical Tidbit - 1995

Happy New Year to all. Now that we're in the beginning of the new year, I thought I'd devote this entry to a watershed event in CBI's past. I was going through old CBI newsletters recently, and came across this article from the Winter 1995 issue: "CBI on the Web!" Naturally, the headline intrigued me, so I spent a few minutes reading the article through. It details the first-ever CBI web site, but the most fascinating parts - at least for computing historians - are the necessity, method, and terminology used to describe the CBI site. Some quotes:

"One advantage of the Web over the Internet Gopher is its ability to highlight certain phrases that, when selected, refer to other documents, images or Internet sites."

"Because of the amount of time they add to calling and viewing a hypertext document, CBI has been conservative in its use of images on the Web."

"CBI established its Web in December 1994...Since that time CBI's archival staff has produced a broad range of hypertext documents."

CBI's current and past newsletters are all available on our web site, and, as you can see, they're worth perusing not just for institutional history but for the history of computing in general.

November 30, 2007


Anyone planning a research visit should be aware that December 24 and 25 and January 1 are university holidays and that we will be closed. Also, Andersen Library will be closed to the public on December 31.

Finally, our extended Thursday hours will be on hiatus during the semester break, but will resume starting in late January.

November 12, 2007

CBI Fall Newsletter

CBI's semiannual newsletter is now available for Fall 2007! Please check it out at

October 12, 2007

Not Here Today

"IM an Archivist," our chat service, will be out of commission much of the day today, because Arvid and I will both be attending the Control Data Corporation's anniversary celebration. However, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me!

October 5, 2007


Welcome to the Charles Babbage Institute's news and information blog. My name is Stephanie Horowitz and I am CBI's assistant archivist. Other people who work here and who may contribute to the blog include Arvid Nelsen, the CBI archivist; Tom Misa, CBI's director; Jeff Yost, the associate director; Katie Charlet, the secretary; and Sasha Grossman, Jessica Huffman, and Kevin Irving, our student assistants.

The Charles Babbage Institute is an archives and research center at the University of Minnesota, dedicated to preserving the history of information technology and promoting and conducting research in the field.

CBI's blog will contain up-to-date information about new collections, events, and other items that you might find useful. Keep checking back for new posts, and feel free to comment or to email us with any questions or suggestions.