Special Collections Unbound

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

Steven Meretzky game design scans available in Green Library reading room

Steven Meretzky is a pioneer in the computer games industry. His decades-long career includes experience working as a quality assurance analyst, game designer, product designer, and writer. Most of his signature contributions to the industry occurred while he was employed at Infocom, Inc., which was a prolific and highly-acclaimed publisher of text adventure games back in the 1980s. His most famous collaboration was with Douglas Adams on the computer game version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a text adventure game that is notorious for its arcane and difficult puzzles. 

Text adventures are also known as interactive fiction and are played completely through simple instructions that the player types into a computer program. The computer translates these instructions (ex. “go north,” “get lamp,” etc.) and responds with prepared text, unfolding a story on screen for the player. Meretzky’s skills for creating these type of narrative games led to his inclusion as one of only two game writers in the Science Fiction Writers of America (the other being Dave Lebling, one of his colleagues at Infocom.)

Jim McRae

Project South coordinator revisits collection 50 years later

May 8, 2014
by Daniel Hartwig

On April 24th, the University Archives was pleased to welcome back to the farm Jim McRae ('68), coordinator of the KZSU-sponsored Project South, which interviewed civil rights workers during the summer of 1965. Jim (seen here examining interview transcripts) sat down with us to talk about the project and even provided some personal photographs (below) and documents

Project South, 1965During the summer of 1965, eight students from Stanford University spent ten weeks in the southern states tape-recording information on student participation in the Civil Rights Movement. The eight interviewers -- Mary Kay Becker, Mark Dalrymple, Roger Dankert, Richard Gillam, James McRae, Penny Niland, Jon Roise, and Julie Wells -- were sponsored by KZSU, Stanford's student radio station, and their original intent was to gather material suitable for rebroadcasting in the form of radio programs. Northern college students who were working in the South for the first time were the major focus, although many other topics were also investigated. To find out why these students decided to go to the South to work for the movement, what they expected to find there, what they did find, the pressures they experienced, their reaction to these pressures, what they accomplished, and what they planned to do in the future (both near and distant), they interviewed as many students as possible. What is planned is a series of programs expressing in the volunteers' and workers' own words, their motivations and their feelings towards the many aspects of the South and of the Civil Rights Movement experienced that summer.

Photograph of Ann Rosener

Ann Rosener Papers

April 24, 2014
by Joseph Geller

The Manuscripts Division has recently completed processing the Ann Rosener papers (M1946). The collection contains correspondence, photographs, exhibition posters and catalogues, subject files, drafts, and business records, documenting Rosener’s fascinating career as a photographer, designer, and publisher.

Special Collections testing new summer hours

April 23, 2014

From May 1st to August 29th, Special Collections will open at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday instead of our usual 10 a.m. start time. Melissa Pincus has been hired to work our front desk during this test period and see how patrons respond to the earlier start time. Melissa comes to us from the University Archives where she worked on processing the Shockley Papers and she currently works part-time as a reference librarian at Menlo College.

Steve Schneider [photographer unknown].

In Honor of Earth Day

April 22, 2014
by Pennington P. Ahlstrand

Dr. Steve Schneider was inspired to be involved in climate change and global warming in part because of Earth Day.

Like his eco-ally Carl Sagan, Schneider was a scientist able to Successfully get information to the public. Sagan had his television show Cosmos (recently revitalized by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan—check your local listings).

Schneider wrote popular science books, did radio interviews around the world and appeared in movies and on television.

Pages