January 13, 2011

CBI Featured in

See,2817,2375431,00.asp for an article on a road trip of tech landmarks across the country, including a blurb on CBI.

July 27, 2010

Gender Codes Featured on IEEE Computer Society Website

The IEEE Computer Society ( is featuring Gender Codes on its main webpage today, citing it as "a fresh, constructive examination of the gender imbalance in computer education and technology."

Authors of the 13 chapters first met at a CBI-sponsored workshop in May 2008, and the volume developed as a historical response to the professional crisis of women "leaving" the profession. Proportionately fewer undergraduate women are studying computer science today than anytime in the last four decades, and there has also been a decline of women in the white-collar IT workforce since the mid-1980s. Most of the book's 71 images come from CBI's extensive photo collection.

July 22, 2010

Gender Codes

Gender Codes, the book based on the 2008 CBI-hosted conference History | Gender | Computing, is out for sale! Edited by CBI director Tom Misa and including chapters by Tom and associate director Jeff Yost, Gender Codes is subtitled "Why Women Are Leaving Computing" and deals with the important issues surrounding the historical roles of women and men in the computing industries.

June 17, 2010

NY Times Article

A fascinating article in the NY Times about Watson, an IBM supercomputer that's programmed for natural language processing and wins Jeopardy competitions against real humans.

January 14, 2010

The Two Moores/Mooers

An article on the relevance today of Moore's Law and Mooers' Law.

CBI holds the papers of Calvin Mooers - see the finding aid here. Thanks to U of M information literacy librarian Kate Peterson for the story link!

January 4, 2010

ERA Article in St. Paul Pioneer Press

Happy New Year, readers. A bit of publicity to start off the year on a good foot: CBI and Director Tom Misa figure prominently in a recent article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Engineering Research Associates. The article's author used our ERA Records for background research.

November 16, 2009

New Newsletter/RSS

Our Fall 2009 newsletter is now available on our website. We have also added RSS capability to the newsletter: if you use an RSS reader, you can click on the XML link at the bottom of the page, and when we have a new newsletter you will see the articles appear in your feed reader. Please let me know if you have any questions!

October 5, 2009

Organizing the History of Computing

CBI director Tom Misa presented "Organizing the History of Computing: 'Lessons Learned' at the Charles Babbage Institute" at the History of Nordic Computing conference in Turku, two summers ago. It is now published in a Springer conference volume and available electronically at:

September 29, 2009

New Publication by Associate Director

CBI associate director Jeff Yost has just published "Manufacturing Mainframes: Component Fabrication and Component Procurement at IBM and Sperry Univac 1960-1975," part of a special issue of History and Technology 25 (Sept. 2009) on 'high tech manufacture'. Jeff's article deals with these two companies' radically differing strategies for securing supplies of semiconductor components, and is based in part on research Jeff did at the Hagley Museum and Library.

February 12, 2009

History of Computing Book Prize

Here's an announcement from SIGCIS, for those interested:

The Computer History Museum Prize is awarded by SIGCIS to the author of an outstanding book in the history of computing broadly conceived, published during the prior three years (e.g. books published in 2006-2008 are eligible for the inaugural 2009 award). Books in translation are eligible for three years following the date of their publication in English. The prize of $1000, established through the generosity of an anonymous donor who wishes to honor the Computer History Museum, is administered by SIGCIS, SHOT's special interest group for computers, information and society.

Publishers, authors, and other interested members of the computer-history community are invited to nominate books. Send one copy of the nominated title to each of the committee members listed below. To be considered, book submissions must be postmarked by 1 April 2009. For more information, please contact the prize committee chair or SIGCIS secretary (

Thomas J. Misa [chair]
Charles Babbage Institute
211 Andersen Library
222 - 21st Avenue South
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Paul E. Ceruzzi
MRC 311
National Air and Space Museum
PO Box 37012
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC 20013-7012

Jennifer S. Light
Northwestern University School of Communication
Frances Searle Building
2240 Campus Drive, Room 2-152
Evanston, IL 60208-2952

November 13, 2008

Fall 2008 Newsletter

The CBI fall 2008 newsletter is now available and will be virtually winging its way to those of you on the mailing list shortly! It is published biannually and contains updates about events, collections, and resources here at the institute. If you would like to be added to the newsletter mailing list, please email me.

June 18, 2008

CBI in the News!

CBI is in the news! One of the attendees at our History | Gender | Computing conference in May wrote this story, which was syndicated by the American Institute of Physics Inside Science News Service and published in MinnPost. They also used an image from our Control Data Corporation Records.

May 13, 2008

Spring Newsletter!

The CBI spring newsletter is now available! Check it out for some scintillating articles by Tom and Jeff, as well as news from the director's desk and from the archives.

April 10, 2008


The front cover of the newest issue of College and Research Libraries News is a CBI image, from the Calvin Mooers Papers, showing a woman working with Zatocoding. Zatocoding was an information retrieval system developed by Mooers in 1947 that he once stated "antagonized librarians" because of its automation of the field. The issue also contains a brief explanation of the image, written by Arvid, on the table of contents page. Very exciting!

Here's a link to the cover:

February 26, 2008

Humanities and Technology

From the SHOT blog:

Humanities and Technology Review is the journal of the Humanities and Technology Association. HTR is published annually in the fall, and it offers a publication outlet for interdisciplinary articles on a broad range of themes addressing the interface between the humanities and technology.

In the Fall 2008 edition we would like to address the theme of technology and the human condition. We encourage reflection on the impact of technology on the lived experience of peoples throughout the world. The theme can be taken broadly, but here are some ideas:

* Implications of new information technologies for the concept of the world citizen
* Moral responsibility for actions that occur at a distance
* Technology and Developing Countries
* Surveillance Technologies and Privacy Rights
* Technology and the Nature of Labor
* Intelligent Computer Agent “Behaviors� and Accountability
* Spoken Word (hip hop, poetry, free style) and Technology

The 2008 edition will also include a special section: Proceedings, Selected Papers of the 2007 HTA Conference, October 4-6, 2007, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Frederick B. Mills, Editor
Humanities and Technology Review
Department of History and Government
Bowie State University


January 31, 2008

Archives and Digital Technology

An article by Richard Cox, et al. combining archives and information technology - perfect for the CBI blog! Check it out here.

January 18, 2008

Technology and Culture

Check out this month's new Technology and Culture for Tom's review of Geoffrey Herrera's Technology and International Transformation. Technology and Culture is SHOT's quarterly journal. Tom's article is directly accessible here, and you can find the entire issue at

January 7, 2008

Sage Ross on Wikipedia

The January 2008 issue of the Newsletter of the History of Science Society contains an article by doctoral candidate Sage Ross on the importance of Wikipedia to historians - particularly historians of science, technology, and medicine. Ross convincingly urges scholars in STM fields to get involved in posting historically accurate content to articles on topics in their fields, stating that Wikipedia provides an unparalleled opportunity to make work available to a general audience. Do you think HSTM scholars have a responsibility to become involved in Wikipedia? What about engaging with a popular audience in general?

December 18, 2007

CBI Classic Now Available Online

The High-Technology Company: A Historical Research and Archival Guide, a 1989 publication by Bruce Bruemmer (former CBI archivist) and Sheldon Hochheiser, is now available in PDF format through CBI's web site under Hosted Publications. The publication was "embraced by the Society of American Archivists for setting standards in the field of corporate archiving." Henry Lowood listed it in a 1997 paper as one of the three indispensable guides to archives in the history of computing.

December 7, 2007

IEEE Annals of the History of Computing

The most recent issue of the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing is entitled "The Future and the Past: New Thoughts on the History of Computing." The issue is made up of articles coming from a conference hosted by CBI last summer in honor of retiring director Arthur Norberg. CBI's current director, Tom Misa, was the guest editor. The issue contains articles by Tom as well as by CBI researchers and donors William Aspray (a wonderful tribute to Arthur Norberg) and James Cortada. Please take a look; it's a fascinating read.

Readers at the University of Minnesota (and many other institutions) should be able to access the journal electronically through their library's web site. Also, Friends of CBI who donate $100 or more receive free issues of Annals with their membership.

December 3, 2007

Information Age

James Cortada has recently published a fascinating article entitled "Do We Live in the Information Age? Insights from Historiographical Methods." In it, Cortada argues for caution in applying labels to periods in history and suggests that we should be wary of considering our present day to be the "Information Age." Cortada mentions CBI several times in this article, including one very nice mention of us as "the world's most important center for the study of the history of computing." We have a collection of Cortada's research documents here, and they are currently in process.

The article was published in Historical Methods, Summer 2007. Readers at the University of Minnesota can access the journal online through the library's web site.

November 16, 2007

Encyclopedia of Technology

And another Friday post! I just came across a call for encyclopedia entries for an ABC-CLIO Encyclopedia of American Technology. A link to the announcement is here.

November 14, 2007

Minnesota 150

The Charles Babbage Institute was asked to contribute a photograph for an essay on Seymour Cray for the book Minnesota 150: The People, Places, and Things That Shape Our State by Kate Roberts, senior exhibits developer for the Minnesota Historical Society. Minnesota citizens submitted thousands of nominations of people, organizations, places and events for the book, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of Minnesota’s statehood, which will take place in 2008. The book is in stores and libraries now.