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March 2005 Conference Call

March 21, 2005
4:00-5:00 EST

: Bill Aspray, Mary Hall, Rick Snodgrass, and David S. Wise

Indented prose is what was discussed; non-indented prose is from the agenda.

  • Vote on proposed Mission Statement

    As there was a bare majority (since Tom had expressed his vote earlier), we voted on the proposed Mission Statement, which passed unanimously, unchanged from the version discussed in the f2f meeting, as follows.

    "The ACM History Committee fosters preservation and interpretation of the history of the ACM and its role in the development of computing.

    "To this end, the Committee provides guidance within the Association and carries out activities independently and in collaboration with other groups."

  • Summary of CC with ACM EC

    Our proposal to the EC of creating a fund which would persist across fiscal years was rejected, as it could encourage delays in getting oral histories completed.

    Instead, David and Rick will work out with Pat and Russell Harris an accounting scheme which divides the budget for an oral history into two yearly parts, with the expectation that an oral history started in one fiscal year would be completed by the end of the next.

    Other than that detail, the EC now seems satisfied with the Committee, though it would like to see more progress.

  • Followup on discussion of CACM article

      David mentioned that the next History of Programming Languages conference (HOPL-III) will be at the ACM Federated Computer Conference in 2007 (in May?).

      We decided that a special issue of CACM scheduled for January 2007 (ACM's 60th anniversary) was an excellent project for the committee.

      If this is successful, it might spur activity on the two other ideas mentioned in the agenda: a monthly column on history and columns and articles in SIG newsletters.

      We blue-skied ideas for this special issue.

    • It would need an Editorial Board, perhaps of the History Committee with external reviewers, or perhaps the Committee augmented with additional experts.

    • It would contain both strongly solicited papers and papers generated by an open call. Such papers, generally by individuals, would be of the 10-15 page variety. It would also contain shorter pieces from the SIGs.

    • Several models of contributions from SIGs were mentioned.
      - time-line of the SIG or content area
      - institutional history of individual SIGs
      - paper by a SIG award winner of the history of the work that the person received the award for.

    • From the oral histories we are commissioning (to be done by the end of this calendar year), we could identify historians who could analyze this material, perhaps for a CACM article.

    • Other entries could be short, describing auspicious events that occurred in 1982 (25th anniversary), 1977, 1967, 1957, and 1947.

    • It would be useful to include a short article on the status of the History Committee.

    • It might be useful to have an associated web page (see Queue for an excellent example).

    Mary will encourage the SIGs to participate, at the next SGB meeting.

    We felt that January 2007 provided about the right amount of time to properly prepare for this special issue.

    We'll discuss in a little more detail at the next CC.

  • What would render the web site for the ACM History Committee maximally useful to future historical analysis?

    Bill mentioned that candid shots of famous people interacting in a non-posed manner were perhaps more important than a group picture.

    Bill mentioned that Henry Lowood was working on a Silicon Valley history project that had some overlaps with this.

The next CC is Monday, April 18, 4 **EDT*. We'll open with the web site, then segue to the CACM special issue.