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ACM Chooses Charles Babbage Institute to Archive Historical Records

Vast Collection of Materials Tracks ACM’s Impact on Development of Computing

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORKMay 22, 2008 –ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) has chosen the Charles Babbage Institute (CBI) as the repository for its extensive collection of internal ACM records, conference proceedings, research-based journals, magazines, and the personal papers and edited interviews of legendary figures that span the history of computing.  These historical records, from the beginnings of the field in the late 1940s, capture the activities of ACM’s many Special Interest Groups that focus on specific areas of computing.  They also track the growth of hundreds of ACM professional and student chapters, which have attracted computing professionals, practitioners, and researchers around the world.   CBI will house the collection at its Center for the History of Information Technology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

"This vast archive of ACM materials offers a rich resource for anyone interested in how computing has impacted the world and the way we live," said David S. Wise, co-chair of ACM’s History Committee, which is spearheading the project with CBI. "It also provides a fascinating glimpse into the role that ACM has played in advancing the discipline of computing as both a science that enables innovation, and a profession that adheres to the highest ethical standards."  Wise, a member-at-large of ACM’s governing body, known as the Council, is professor of computer science at Indiana University.

The ACM collection at CBI includes the services of a professional archivist to work in residence as well as a dedicated student support staff.  It will offer an online search function with access to detailed historical and content information.  A permanent online exhibit on the CBI website will feature the collection and offer convenient access for researchers and browsers alike.

            ACM History Committee co-chair Richard Snodgrass noted that the ACM-related material nicely complements CBI’s other holdings.  "We share a respect and reverence for artifacts that document the history of technology and the scholarly societies that produce and preserve them. By preserving the historical record of these activities, this collection provides an unparalleled opportunity for us to understand the role that ACM plays in advancing research in computing.  We have embarked on this project to underscore our conviction that computing is a critical driver of innovations, ideas, and applications that continue to benefit society in dynamic and unexpected ways."  Snodgrass is professor of computer science at the University of Arizona.

            The ACM archive project is part of the ACM History Committee’s ongoing effort to preserve the collective memory of the computing field’s pioneers.  Its aim is to probe the history of ACM and its role in the development of computing, which has created the systems and underlying theoretical foundations that have propelled the information technology industry.  Other projects initiated by the ACM History Committee may be found at

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.  

About CBI

The Charles Babbage Institute (CBI) is an archives and research center dedicated to preserving the history of information technology and promoting and conducting research in the field.  The CBI Archives collects, preserves and provides access to rich archival collections and rare publications documenting the history of technology, from the era of tabulators and electromechanical calculators in the period prior to World War II, through the development of the electronic digital computer, mainframes, mini and microcomputers, software and networking.


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