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Title:The Minicomputer and its Use in Library Operations at the University of Maryland
Author(s):Hamner, Walter G.
Subject(s):Libraries --Automation
Minicomputers --Library applications
practitioner experience
Abstract:Minicomputers are being put to work in many different environments. With every repetitive paper handling task, there is a potential minicomputer application. According to a recent study by International Data Corporation, pub- lishers of EDP Industry Report, worldwide shipments of minicomputers will jump almost 50 percent this year, to a shipped value of $835 million. 1 By 1977, minis should represent a $2.5 billion business. Some promising fields are: business and banking, where mini-based point-of-sale and accounting systems are just beginning to tap the potential of autotransaction; support of data entry systems and telecommunications networks, where minis are used for message-switching; automated manufacturing, where minis are used in closed-loop systems; and customized packages that give sophisticated users clusters of inexpensive minis for on-line jobs that once required large machines. Minis are being shipped at a rate of 2,800 per month, and the installed population will outnumber general-purpose computers before the end of 1974. IDC expects that within five years the mini shipment rate will be 10,000 per month. The marketplace for minis is diffused, fragmented, and hard to define. Most manufacturers sell their machines as tools most minis are dedicated to a single function. Currently, 58 percent of minis and 96 percent of mini-peripheralsproduced in the United States go to OEM sup- pliers. Potential end-users of minis are attracted by their increasing ease of use, even more than by their declining prices. Larger memories allow program- ming in higher level languages, rather than in machine languages. For example, Microdata has just announced a new small business system programmable in simple English sentences. Raytheon has announced a new mini that will be available on a rental basis, and a new mini array processor ($57,000) that can add two arrays of more than 16,000 numbers each into a third array, from a single instruction, and twenty times faster than the CPU could do the job under standard program control. The mini market currently supports at least fifty viable suppliers. IBM has not really entered the mini market, but rumors persist of a "System/2." If it ever appears, a true IBM minicomputer could change the shape of the industry. An important educational application involves the effective use of mini- computers to handle the acquisition and circulation systems in university libraries. The study of minicomputers and their successful application to library data processing should certainly include a review of the Singer Company's System 10 minicomputer 2 and point of transaction terminal system in use at McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland. We feel that we have taken an innovative approach to the library's biggest headache effective circulation control without impairing service to our students, faculty or staff.
Issue Date:1974
Publisher:Graduate School of Library Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info:In Applications of minicomputers to library and related problems : papers presented at the 1974 Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing, April 28-May 1, 1974, ed. F.W. Lancaster. Urbana, Il: Graduate School of Library Science: 32-42.
Series/Report:Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing (11th : 1974)
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Rights Information:Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois 1974.
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-06-12

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