Meeting Minutes
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2006 Face-to-face Meeting
    ACM History Committee 2006 Face-to-face Meeting

    January 27, 2006

    We met 8:00am-6:00pm in a conference room at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California on Friday, January 27, 2006.

    Present: Bill Aspray, Mary Hall, Carol Hutchins, Mike Mahoney, Len Shustek, Rick Snodgrass, and David S. Wise.



    Len and his staff did a wonderful job with the arrangements for the meeting.

    Numbered items are from the agenda.

  1. FY06 Review of status and accomplishments, FY06 expenditures, and initial FY07 Budget

    There were several emails sent before the meeting, providing status and accomplishments, including the interviews, several of which have been done and several more to be done soon, the work on getting transcripts of oral histories at the National Museum of American History on the web, and work by Beth Kaplan and Carrie Seib (from the Babbage Institute) on the ACM archives.

    The initial FY07 budget will consist primarily of new interviews and the archive (more on both below).

  2. CACM Special Issue

    The call for papers has gone out ot the Annals, hoping to make the Spring issue (the Summer issue will be too late), to the History List, USACM, and SIGChairs.

  3. SIG Interactions

    Mary gave a wide-ranging and detailed presentation on the various things going on with respect to the SIGs. It was gratifying to see how much activity had occurred in the twelve short months since Mary first joined the Committee.

    The goal the first year (calendar 2005) was getting the word out to the SIGs.

    3.1 Funding Best history of computing paper award

    We decided that such an award is peripheral to our mission, and so we won't actively pursue this.

    3.2 Splitting costs of OHs

    See below for possibilities.

    3.3 Leveraging oral histories

    This concerns the History Committee contributing funds to help get oral histories that the SIGs want, as opposed to those the Committee wants.

    We didn't discuss this.

    3.4 Brainstorming: what do we provide them?

    Starting with the above issues, we identified a set of issues to work on this calendar year.

    ACTION ITEM: Mary will discuss with the committee in conference calls the following inter-related opportunities.

    • Developing a coherent strategy/policy for co-sponsoring oral histories (for example, split for two sponsors, split for three sponsors)

    • Helping the SIGs with training

    • Utilizing the SIG Project Fund to fund oral histories of interest

  4. History Committee Web site

    Mike gave a demo of the current prototype web site, which was warmly received. Joe has done a great job of organizing and formatting this site.

    Joe will address the issues identified by the committee and will soon go live with the site.

  5. Oral History Project

    There is lots of activity! We discussed possible future interviews.

  6. ACM Archive

    6.1 Status and next steps. Where?

    We discussed this briefly over lunch, as we were running late. Beth Kaplan and Carrie Seib had sent a "Report and Recommendations to the ACM History Committee," dated January 26, 2006, and had FAXed the appendix to Rick, who brought it to the meeting for copying.

    6.2 Retention policy: affects many parts of ACM

    This was not discussed.

  7. CHM IT Corporate Histories Project

    7.1 Luanne Johnson gave a presentation, focusing on using the IT Corporate Histories Project software to collect historical information on ACM SIGs.

    The CHM would be interested in having their software used in this way, as one objective of the Sloan Foundation grant was to encourage distribution and use of software.

    7.2 Luanne gave a demo of their web site.

    The objective is to gather source materials for historians, based on a timeline and then having facilitators encourage submission of comments, recollections, and multimedia content. Facilitators, who are generally semi-retired, build the timeline, develop the contact list, using personal contacts and knowledge of the industry sector, then ask pointed questions to encourage submissions.

    Luanne also mentioned that getting people together in a group in person was very effective, moderated by people from the industry to provide some structure.

    7.3 ACM question(s) that could be added in the CHM study

    Rick discussed this separately with Luanne.

  8. Interactions with the Computer History Museum

    The following joined us for a wide-ranging discussion.

      Bernard Peuto (Member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee, Chairman of the Software Collection Committee)

      Kirsten Tashev (Vice President for Collections and Exhibits)

      Paula Jabloner (Archivist)

      Karen Mathews-Tucker (Vice President for Development, Marketing, PR)

      Luanne Johnson (see above)

    Len gave a 10-minute presentation about the status of the museum, focusing on the collection, the building, and the exhibits. He announced a $15M Gates Foundation grant, to fund a 12-14K square foot exhibit on the History of Computing. The CHM has an active activities program, a speakers series, an oral history program, and an active restorations program. They are three-quarters of the way to completing a $100M capital fundraising campaign, half of which will be for the endowment. Most of their support is from individuals.

    Bernard talked about their software collections. This effort started in fall 2003; the committee meets once a month. Their emphasis is on collecting software and preparing high-quality web resources to exhibit software (which is a challenging problem). Their view is that software is literature.

    Paula discussed archiving. They are working on a metadata standard and working with ACM and AFIPS on online cataloguing and digitizing documents. They have also produced n online exhibit on Computer Chess.

    She wants to continue to work with ACM to make the archives online, perhaps through the ACM DL. They currently have 4000 linear feet (about 15 million pages) of material, of which their goal is putting one-quarter online.

    She was asked about escrowed documents: they have talked about it but no formal procedures are yet in place.

  9. Turing Award Web Site

    After much discussion, we decided to go back to the original model, of one page per Turing Award winner, specifying what they got it for and links to the interview and talk (if available).

    It might be useful to construct a small traveling exhibit from the archive, say a timeline, photos, and interesting documents, to be set up at conferences, for example at the book exhibit at FCRC.

    It would a useful exercise to look at organizational histories from other societies to determine what we should be collecting.

  10. Tour of the Museum

    Len gave us a wonderful tour of the museum. It's really magnificent in what they've done thus far, and exciting the hear of their ambitious plans for the future.

    As part of the tour, Paula gave us an inside look at the archives.

    Dinner was at Ristorante Don Giovanni in Mountain View. Joining us were Bernard Peuto, Dag Spicer (Curator) and Paul McJones (active volunteer working on software collections).