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2007 Face-to-face Meeting
    ACM History Committee March 2007 Face-to-Face Meeting

    March 3, 2007 9am-3:30pm EDT

    Present: Bill Aspray, Mary Hall, Carol Hutchins, Mike Mahoney, Rosemary McGuinness, Rick Snodgrass, Jesse Tadlock, and David S. Wise.

    Some of us (Bill Aspray, Carol Hutchins, Mike Mahoney, Rick Snodgrass, Jesse Tadlock, and David S. Wise) met for dinner at Shula's the evening of Friday, March 2.

    These were joined by Mary Hall and Rosemary McGuinness Saturday March 3, 2007.




  1. Welcome


  2. David ran the meeting.

    1. The agenda was accepted (though we didn't follow it exactly).


    2. Budget


    3. The EC met March 1 and tentatively approved our budget of $63K for the next fiscal year.

  3. Reports


    1. Interviews


      1. Status


      2. Rick reviewed the status of the interviews.

      3. Interviewers


      4. We decided to commission five more interviews, of two ACM Presidents, an Executive Director, and a Turing Award winner.

      5. Strategy for the future


      6. Carol suggested a new model: a coordinated set of specialized interviews.
        We configured a package of interviews with two Turing Award winners and identified possible external funders.

        We revisited the rationale for the interviews.

        One rationale is that we are developing the source material for a comprehensive analysis of the organizational history of ACM and the SIGs. The Archive and the interviews of ACM presidents and staff and some volunteers advances this goal.

        A second is that we are developing the source material for a history of specific intellectual areas within CS, such as databases or programming languages. The interviews of Turing awardees might contribute to that.

        Third, we are trying to increase the cachet of the Turing Award (that was one of the incentives for starting the HC). We started by paying for some of these interviews, then splitting the cost of a Turing Award interview. We've decided though that it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify appropriate interviewers, so we will no longer encourage this.

        Finally, we are trying to interest SIGs generally in history, to help with the first two goals. We will propose packages of interviews that help support a history of an intellectual area or of a SIG. Our goal is to get the SIGs involved more deeply, to the point where they might organize a History of X conference along the lines of HOPL.

        We'll try to commission a SIG history; more on that below.

  4. Documenting ACM's History


    1. HC web site


    2. Jesse demoed the new design of the web site. We identified several useful enhancements.

      Later we may offer Jesse's code and design to other committees and boards and also to ACM HQ, for two summary pages: key people, listing current positions and past positions, and committees, listing current members.

    3. Turing Award web site


    4. We discussed in detail the integration of the ACM web pages with the Guide and DL. Right now there is little to no integration. Ideally the resources in the ACM web site would be accessible to the DL, and vice-versa. We will be working with HQ and Pubs to increase these linkages.

    5. Membernet and TechNews


    6. We decided that both could be easily be included (as both are already online), except for the labor to prepare the metadata. MemberNet seems to be more important to history. TechNews, on the other hand, is information that belongs to others and that may be accessible elsewhere----even for the long term.

    7. AFIPS


    8. We first need to reach closure that ACM owns the AFIPS copyright.
      Then we will determine where to go to find funds for completing this project ($100K).

  5. SIG Interaction


  6. We discussed SIG interaction earlier.

    We'll try to pair an enthusiastic SIG person with an historian commissioned to spend a summer researching and writing up a SIG's institutional history. As with other activities, we'll start small to work out the kinks.

  7. ACM Archive


  8. We discussed and made some changes to the desiderata developed by the ad hoc archive committee. The goal is to send a Request for Response to physical archives in May.

  9. Challenges for the Future


  10. We spent some time discussing how to encourage the historical scholarly community to focus (a) on ACM's institutional history and more broadly on (b) the history of computer science.

    We can encourage general projects, but we may not find the results relevant. We can encourage specific projects, but we may not be satisfied with the quality of the results.

    Our goal is to realize significant writing on ACM history within say three years. We need to work over that time on several initiatives to get that community more involved.

    Certainly when the archive and the associated fellowships/travel grants/etc. are available, that will help. But perhaps we can do more.
    We discussed some initial ideas for approaches; this will be a focus for the committee over the next year.