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IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
IEEE Annals of the History of ComputingSpecial Issue on "The History of Library Applications of Computing"
We are preparing a special issue of IEEE Annals of the History of Computing on the history of library automation for publication in Winter of 2002 (Volume 24-1 of the Annals). The publication will focus on the changing role of computing in libraries since the 1950s up to the period of profound change that has been inaugurated by the Internet and the World Wide Web in the early 1990s.
In any historical exploration of the applications of computing in libraries, it is important for the sake of perspective to situate those applications within the broader context of the developments occurring within computing itself. Two important aspects of this context were: what was happening in computer science in terms of hardware, software and network developments; and computer application in business and industry.
One might argue that the experience in libraries of early applications based on business models of inventory control and database searching was highly problematic. The complexity of library applications involved among other things the problem of standardizing and ordering names and creating unique descriptions for "library" items that had taken a generation for librarians to codify effectively. Such complexity was a rock on which many applications nearly foundered. Similarly the almost intractable problem of effectively ordering the full range of language in order to specify the subject content and relationships of documents was also underestimated in early applications and continues to be problematic today.
We hope that an historical approach will help show how important library computer applications have been in the development of computing and in contributing to the constitution of today's "information economy". Studied historically, we believe that the partial and provisional technological solutions that have been offered for library problems will give us special insights into the nature and evolution of libraries themselves. Such an approach might also help us in envisioning and planning for the future of libraries in a technologically saturated world.
We would like to invite anyone who is interested in participating in this exciting project to contact one of the co-editors (below). Papers in the Annals are substantial but on the whole should be no more than 20 single-spaced manuscript pages. While papers will be refereed, the editors in planning the special issue would very much like to discuss potential contributions with their authors.
Final deadline for submissions: 15 July 2001
W. Boyd Rayward, Research Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 501 E. Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6211; (217) 244-9741, email@example.com
Rebecca Graham, Head, Library Computing Services, Director, Digital Library Program, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218; (410) 515-8781, firstname.lastname@example.org