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Paper Machines About Cards and Catalogs, 1548-1929

ISBN-10: 0262015897

ISBN-13: 9780262015899

Edition: 2011

Authors: Markus Krajewski, Peter Krapp

List price: $36.00
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Description:

Today on almost every desk in every office sits a computer. Eighty years ago, desktops were equipped with a nonelectronic data processing machine: a card file. In Paper Machines, Markus Krajewski traces the evolution of this proto-computer of rearrangeable parts (file cards) that became ubiquitous in offices between the world wars. The story begins with Konrad Gessner, a sixteenth-century Swiss polymath who described a new method of processing data: to cut up a sheet of handwritten notes into slips of paper, with one fact or topic per slip, and arrange as desired. In the late eighteenth century, the card catalog became the librarian's answer to the threat of information overload. Then, at the turn of the twentieth century, business adopted the technology of the card catalog as a bookkeeping tool. Krajewski explores this conceptual development and casts the card file as a "universal paper machine" that accomplishes the basic operations of Turing's universal discrete machine: storing, processing, and transferring data. In telling his story, Krajewski takes the reader on a number of illuminating detours, telling us, for example, that the card catalog and the numbered street address emerged at the same time in the same city (Vienna), and that Harvard University's home-grown cataloging system grew out of a librarian's laziness; and that Melvil Dewey (originator of the Dewey Decimal System) helped bring about the technology transfer of card files to business.
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Book details

List price: $36.00
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 8/19/2011
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Size: 5.25" wide x 9.00" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.242

William R. Uttal is Professor Emeritus (Engineering) at Arizona State University and Professor Emeritus (Psychology) at the University of Michigan. He is the author of many books, including The New Phrenology: On the Localization of Cognitive Processes in the Brain (MIT Press).Markus Krajewski is Associate Professor of Media History at the Bauhaus University, Weimar. He is a developer of the bibliographic software Synapsen: A Hypertextual Card Index (www.verzetteln.de/synapsen)

From Library Guides to the Bureaucratic Era: An Introduction
Temporary Indexing
Around 1800
The First Card Index?
Addressing Ideas
Data Streams
Copy Error: The Josephinian Card Index
Floods
Canals
The Algorithm
Error: Buffer Overflow
Paper Flow: Taming, Duration
Revolution on Playing Cards
Thinking in Boxes
The Scholar's Machine
Genealogy: Johann Jacob Moser and Jean Paul
Elsewhere
Banknotes
Balance Sheet
In Praise of the Cross-Reference
On the Gradual Manufacturing of Thoughts in Storage
American Arrival
Do Not Disturb
Early Fruits and Dissemination
Around 1900
Institutional Technology Transfer
Reformation: Dewey's Three Blessings for America
Transfer; Library Bureau
Library Supplies
Standardization
Corporate Genealogy
The Transfer
Product / System / Manufacturing
Digression: Foreign Laurels
Industry Strategy
Transatlantic Technology Transfer
Supplying Library Supplies
The Library Ge-stell
Punch Card
The Bridge Enters the Office: World Brain
Paper Slip Economy
System/Organization
Universal / Card / Machine
Invalidation
The War of the Cards: Copyrighting the "Card Index"™
Depiction / Decision
Summary: Order / Cleanup
Afterword to the English Edition
Notes
References
Index