Mechanization in libraries and information retrieval: punched cards and microfilm before the widespread adoption of computer technology in libraries
Author: Black, Alistair
Source: Library History, Volume 23, Number 4, December 2007 , pp. 291-299(9)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries a range of important new technologies of information emerged in response to the growth and increasing complexity of organizations and their operations. One such technology was the punched-card machine, a direct forerunner of the computer in terms of the information management function in organizations. Punched-card technology first appeared in libraries in the 1930s, in the United States; and was taken up by libraries in the United Kingdom after the Second World War. Although it could be found in public libraries, the technology's greatest take-up appears to have been in special libraries and documentation/information centres. In the 1930s and 1940s, anticipating later developments in online services, ideas were put forward to link microfilm and punched-hole technologies to produce machines for rapid and universal information retrieval. However, in the 1950s these ideas became redundant with the deployment of the first computers in organizations, a development which also led to the demise of punched-card machines in library operations.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 2007
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