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Telling Our Story David Wise Richard Snodgrass. September 19, 2003ACM Council2 We dont know our history. What was the impetus for the 18 transactions.

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Presentation on theme: "Telling Our Story David Wise Richard Snodgrass. September 19, 2003ACM Council2 We dont know our history. What was the impetus for the 18 transactions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Telling Our Story David Wise Richard Snodgrass

2 September 19, 2003ACM Council2 We dont know our history. What was the impetus for the 18 transactions and 8 journals? What was the impetus for the 18 transactions and 8 journals? What was the genesis of the 24 SIGs? What was the arc of those that no longer exist? What was the genesis of the 24 SIGs? What was the arc of those that no longer exist? Where did early and middle leaders see the field going? In what ways were they prescient and in what ways were they mistaken? Where did early and middle leaders see the field going? In what ways were they prescient and in what ways were they mistaken?

3 September 19, 2003ACM Council3 The history of ACM is important. ACM, as the first society of computing, should not only contribute to the future of information technology, but should document its past. ACM, as the first society of computing, should not only contribute to the future of information technology, but should document its past. What does the last fifty years of ACM tell us about the next ten years, the next fifty years, both of ACM and of computing in general? What does the last fifty years of ACM tell us about the next ten years, the next fifty years, both of ACM and of computing in general?

4 September 19, 2003ACM Council4 We are losing our past. There are ACM conferences for which no printed proceedings can be located. There are ACM conferences for which no printed proceedings can be located. In the past year, four Turing Award winners have died. In the past year, four Turing Award winners have died. Few of those present at the founding of ACM are still with us. Few of those present at the founding of ACM are still with us.

5 September 19, 2003ACM Council5 Context Much written on the general topic of the History of Computing. Much written on the general topic of the History of Computing. Several short articles on the history of ACM have been published. Several short articles on the history of ACM have been published. Most other societies have published books on their institutional histories. Most other societies have published books on their institutional histories.

6 September 19, 2003ACM Council6 Context Much written on the general topic of the History of Computing. Much written on the general topic of the History of Computing. Several short articles on the history of ACM have been published. Several short articles on the history of ACM have been published. –CACM articles in 1962, 1972, 1987 –Presidents letters in CACM –JACM special 50 th anniversary issue, with retrospectives from past EiCs –Some material in SIG newsletters

7 September 19, 2003ACM Council7 Other Institutional Histories IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, 1993 IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society, 1993 IEEE Signal Processing Society, IEEE Signal Processing Society, IEEE History Center, including the IEEE Archives IEEE History Center, including the IEEE Archives SIAM oral history project SIAM oral history project

8 September 19, 2003ACM Council8 Other Institutional Histories American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers,

9 September 19, 2003ACM Council9 Proposal ACM should undertake a comprehensive, coordinated effort to document ACMs history, culminating in the announcement at the 2005 ACM Awards Dinner, of a number of significant collections that utilize information technology to celebrate the emergence and growth of this First Society of Computing.

10 September 19, 2003ACM Council10 Topics What What Why Why How How

11 September 19, 2003ACM Council11 ACM: The First Fifty Years A coffee-table-style book A coffee-table-style book Offering for the first time the origins and evolution of ACM from 1945 Offering for the first time the origins and evolution of ACM from 1945 Containing pictures, history, and interviews Containing pictures, history, and interviews

12 September 19, 2003ACM Council12 A Scholarly History of ACM Drawn from the same sources, but for a different audience: historians of science, volunteer and staff leaders Drawn from the same sources, but for a different audience: historians of science, volunteer and staff leaders How has ACM addressed the challenges that have confronted it? How has ACM addressed the challenges that have confronted it? What can be learned about what has worked and what hasnt worked? What can be learned about what has worked and what hasnt worked? Perhaps published on-demand. Perhaps published on-demand.

13 September 19, 2003ACM Council13 The ACM Historical Archive A multi-media web site, containing A multi-media web site, containing –Digitized source documents –Statistics –Interviews –Photographs and videos –Integrated with an extension of the ACM Timeline of Computing ( www1.acm.org/top/tl ) Covering the full scope of ACM, including boards, publications, SIGs Covering the full scope of ACM, including boards, publications, SIGs

14 September 19, 2003ACM Council14 Turing Award Archive A web site celebrating the Nobel Prize of Computing A web site celebrating the Nobel Prize of Computing Interviews, biographies, remembrances of every Turing Award winner Interviews, biographies, remembrances of every Turing Award winner A digital version of every single document written by these illustrious pioneers A digital version of every single document written by these illustrious pioneers

15 September 19, 2003ACM Council15 Turing Award Lectures: The Second Twenty Years A successor to Turing Award Lectures: The First Twenty Years A successor to Turing Award Lectures: The First Twenty Years A supplement to the web site A supplement to the web site

16 September 19, 2003ACM Council16 Historical DVD-ROM Includes the Turing Award web site Includes the Turing Award web site Includes the ACM Historical Archive Includes the ACM Historical Archive Bundled with the books Bundled with the books

17 September 19, 2003ACM Council17 Collections, in review ACM: The First Fifty Years ACM: The First Fifty Years A History of the ACM, A History of the ACM, Turing Award Lectures: The Second Twenty Years Turing Award Lectures: The Second Twenty Years ACM Historical Archives web site ACM Historical Archives web site ACM Turing Award web site ACM Turing Award web site ACM Historical DVD ACM Historical DVD

18 September 19, 2003ACM Council18 Why? We need to tell our story, of how the ACM originated, grew, and prospered. We need to tell our story, of how the ACM originated, grew, and prospered. We are losing our past, and thus the story itself. We are losing our past, and thus the story itself. The collections will celebrate the trials and accomplishments of this First Society of Computing. The collections will celebrate the trials and accomplishments of this First Society of Computing.

19 September 19, 2003ACM Council19 How: Realizing this Vision As with other efforts within ACM, if we are going to do this, we need to do it well. As with other efforts within ACM, if we are going to do this, we need to do it well. –Solid scholarship –Comprehensive coverage, involving all components and constituencies of ACM –Quality execution –Marshalling our extensive and varied resources

20 September 19, 2003ACM Council20 ACM EC and Council Decide whether or not to embark on this vision Decide whether or not to embark on this vision Appoint a blue-ribbon Advisory Board Appoint a blue-ribbon Advisory Board »Senior historians of science and technology »EC/Council representative »Staff representative (John or Pat?) »SGB representative (Someone from SGB EC?) »Possibly a Board representative

21 September 19, 2003ACM Council21 ACM EC and Council, cont. Coordinate efforts across the Association to collect and interpret historical artifacts Coordinate efforts across the Association to collect and interpret historical artifacts –Staff –Prior Council activity –Boards –SGB Budget/locate sufficient financial resources Budget/locate sufficient financial resources

22 September 19, 2003ACM Council22 Tasks Each Board could research its history, contributing to the Historical Archive. Each Board could research its history, contributing to the Historical Archive. The SGB could assemble the history of each SIG and be responsible for the Turing Award Archive. The SGB could assemble the history of each SIG and be responsible for the Turing Award Archive. The Publications Board could be responsible for overseeing the Turing Award next 20 years book and working with EiCs to document the history of each publication. The Publications Board could be responsible for overseeing the Turing Award next 20 years book and working with EiCs to document the history of each publication.

23 September 19, 2003ACM Council23 Tasks, cont. Staff could help locate historical documents. Staff could help locate historical documents. The DVD would be a natural adjunct to the Historical Archive and Turing Award Archive. The DVD would be a natural adjunct to the Historical Archive and Turing Award Archive.

24 September 19, 2003ACM Council24 First 50 Years Book Written by a professional historian, probably under commission Written by a professional historian, probably under commission This consultant would This consultant would –Interview core people (e.g., past Presidents and CEOs) –Coordinate other interviews –Direct the collection of information –Design the overall structure of the Historical Archive

25 September 19, 2003ACM Council25 A History of ACM Scholarly book Scholarly book Written from same materials Written from same materials Probably also by the consultant Probably also by the consultant Of interest more to volunteers, staff, and other historians Of interest more to volunteers, staff, and other historians

26 September 19, 2003ACM Council26 Budget Depends on the scope of the project Depends on the scope of the project Board, journal, and SIG histories could be written and edited by those involved. Board, journal, and SIG histories could be written and edited by those involved. Propose that Turing Award Archive be handled by SGB. Propose that Turing Award Archive be handled by SGB.

27 September 19, 2003ACM Council27 Budget, cont. Big cost is hiring a qualified historian to oversee the project, do the primary interviews, and write the books. Big cost is hiring a qualified historian to oversee the project, do the primary interviews, and write the books. For a 2-3 year effort, based on past efforts of a similar magnitude, a maximum generous estimate is $200K plus $40K in expenses. For a 2-3 year effort, based on past efforts of a similar magnitude, a maximum generous estimate is $200K plus $40K in expenses.

28 September 19, 2003ACM Council28 Summary We need to tell our story. We need to tell our story. We are losing our history. We are losing our history. Some tasks require substantial volunteer effort. Some tasks require substantial volunteer effort. Involving a professional historian is expensive but helps ensure quality. Involving a professional historian is expensive but helps ensure quality. Resulting collections celebrate ACM and its accomplishments. Resulting collections celebrate ACM and its accomplishments.

29 September 19, 2003ACM Council29 ACM, as the First Society of Computing, should not only contribute to the future of information technology, but should document its past, using that technology. Lets tell the story of ACM.


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