In April and May, approximately 570,000 new files representing around 1700 new items were accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). These materials include -- but are not limited to -- items from the Caricatures of Black Americans collection, the People's Computer Company, and the Jarndyce collection.
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.)
If you were a student in Professor Fred Turner’s recent communications class, you’ve already seen a few issues of newsletters of the People's Computer Company. If not, check out these publications documenting the progress of early computing in the 1970’s, available for the first time in digital form.
The People’s Computer Company, or PCC, launched its first issue with the bold statement “Computers are mostly used against people instead of for people; used to control people instead of to free them; Time to change all that - we need a... Peoples Computer Company." The publication focused on sharing code, mostly for games, that readers could then input into their own computers. The users could then tinker and learn from the freely given and non-copyrighted code. PCC was among the first contributors to what we call today network neutrality – a particular topic of interest in the current day.
The Homebrew Computer Club began meeting in a garage in Menlo park in 1975, begun by Gorden French and Fred Moore who were interested in having a forum where people could get together and work on making computers more accessible to the public. Most members were hobbyists with backgrounds in electronic engineering or computer programming; notable members include founders of different microcomputer companies - Steve Wozniak (who credits the first meeting as the inspiration for designing the Apple I), Harry Garland, and Roger Melen among others. A fictionalized version of the Homebrew Computer Club was featured in the 1999 television movie Pirates of Silicon Valley describing the club’s role in creating the first personal computers.
Check out these issues for yourself!
People’s Computer Company
Homebrew Computer Club
In February and March, approximately 357,000 new files representing over 14,000 items were accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). These materials include -- but are not limited to -- items from the Watershed Map of India, the People's Computer Company, and Revs Digital Library
Four new digital collections were added to SearchWorks via Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) online deposit during the month of March. These collections take advantage of recently released functionality that provides researchers with new rich discovery and access capabilities for finding and working with digital collection content.
By Deardra Fuzzell and Wayne Vanderkuil
A historic geologic map, the data for which was compiled over the course of many years by one determined man, William Smith. Completed nearly 2 centuries ago, it remains incredibly relevant.
This is one of the largest and most difficult oversized objects Stanford has digitized thus far.
See how the Digital Production Group went about imaging this unique item.
We've set up trial access for a new database called VoxGov (http://voxgov.com). Please take a moment to put the database through its paces and send any feedback you have to me at jrjacobs AT stanford DOT edu by April 8, 2014.
VoxGov has a powerful search and pulls together a large swath of US federal public domain government information with social media data and displays it in a visually understandable way. VoxGov also allows for bulk data access to faculty and graduate students who may need to do deeper data analysis. Bulk data access is via separate individual license and has some restrictions on use and reproduction.
Voxgov collects, organizes and archives primary sourced U.S. Federal Government information from government sites like fdsys.gov, federalregister.gov, congress.gov, and some executive agencies as well as major NGO sites like openCRS and FAS Project on Government Secrecy and combines that public domain information with 4,000 official federal government social media accounts from twitter and facebook, as well as speeches, press releases and content from over 10,000 Federal government web locations.
This footage -- preserved through the state-wide California Audiovisual Preservation Project -- is special because it demonstrates Ampex's first portable video recorder, the VR-3000. It depicts scenes recorded on a San Francisco cable car going steeply down (probably) California Street in 1967!