Magazine article Computers in Libraries

A Trip Down Memory Lane and a Glimpse of the Future

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

A Trip Down Memory Lane and a Glimpse of the Future

Article excerpt

Paul Nicholls, Ph D is a consultant, the editor of NewMedia Canada, and an associate of the Media Research Institute Send news and article queries to him at Pelican Island Information Box 24004 London, ON N6H 5C4

With the final countdown to the millennium now beginning, what changes can we expect?

At the beginning of the last century, the era of hand-lettered books was coming to an end, and the printed literature explosion was truly beginning. The Library of Congress was founded in 1800. and expensive rag paper production was being superceded by vegetable-fiber paper rolling off the newly invented web paper-making machine.

By mid-century, linotype and the rotary press were stepping up production, and Tauchnitz was cranking out the first paperbacks to a growing mass market. But at the same time, Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented his loom using punched cards By the end of the 1800s, the U.S. Census would be using Herman Hollerith's punched cards, and he would found the company later called IBM.

At the beginning of our own century, nascent sound recording photography, cinema, broadcast, and telecommunications technologies were e rapidly being developed into full-fledged and important media Between 1900 and 1903, the Kodak Brownie was introduced, Marconi sent the first wireless signal across the Atlantic shellac phonograph discs went on sale, and the U.S. Navy installed radio telephones aboard its ships.

By mid-century we had the first electronic computers, and Vannevar Bush's vision of hypertext and an information system very much like the World Wide Web Mainframes began to proliferate and the pace of change accelerated--the Altair 8800 in 1975, the IBM PC in 1981, the CD-ROM and the Macintosh in 1984, the World Wide Web in 1990 While the 19th century saw the transition to modem print publishing, the 20th century has set the stage for multimedia digital publishing. …

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