|Title:||Current Trends In Library Automation
|Abstract:||The punched card is a remarkable invention which has evolved
into a multi -billion dollar industry and has made its impact felt on
almost every aspect of our society. The genesis of the punched card
can be traced to the man credited with inventing it, Herman Hollerith.
In the late 1800' s, Hollerith cut a card to the exact dimensions of the
American dollar bill and devised a method for representing a number
or a letter in the identical place on each card every time. Although
the dollar bill has shrunk, the Hollerith punched card, after a hundred
years, has not changed by a millimeter! Because paper is a nonconducting
material, it is possible to perform counting operations by
passing electric current through the holes in the card. It was this
simple idea which helped the United States analyze statistics collected
by the 1890 census and which later led to many other applications,
including some of interest to libraries.
Herman Hollerith's biography in the Dictionary of American
Biography relates that the punched card idea was suggested to him
by a librarian. Hollerith thus reports the incident in one of his letters:
"One evening at Dr. B's tea table he said to me, 'There ought
to be a machine for doing the purely mechanical work of tabulating
population and similar statistics.'" The "Dr. B" whom Hollerith refers
to was Dr. John Shaw Billings, who was then Librarian of the
Army Surgeon General's Library and who was destined to become the
first Director of the New York Public Library. To this chance remark,
Hollerith attributes his inspiration for the development of the
punched card. Since it was a librarian who started it all, is it any
wonder that Dr. Billings' professional descendants should wish to
emulate his foresight by considering possible uses of data processing
|Publisher:||Graduate School of Library Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
|Citation Info:||In H. Goldhor (ed). 1966. Proceedings of the 1966 Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library Science: 1-6.
|Series/Report:||Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing (4th : 1966)
|Genre:||Conference Paper / Presentation
|Publication Status:||published or submitted for publication
|Rights Information:||Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1966.
|Date Available in IDEALS:||2007-07-27