We’ve come a long way, baby.

Thanks to Megan Brett, Research Database and Records Manager at the Montpelier Foundation, we are able share with you a piece of ephemera from UVa Library’s computing past: a pamphlet on “Computer Literature Search.”

“Why use a computer search? Consider the time it takes to search manually through the many issues of printed indexes. The computer searches these indexes in seconds; the search is faster, more comprehensive, and often more precise, as there are more subject access points and greater flexibility in combining terms in a computer search.”

The pamphlet continues with an offer to split evenly the costs of search with Library patrons — “based on computer connect-time and on the number and format of citations printed.” Check out a PDF of the pamphlet, here (1mb). It is coded “10-84.” Is this from 1984?

Please comment if you can shed light on the date of the pamphlet, or want to share memories of early digital and computer-assisted scholarship at UVa. We’d also be very happy — in the semester in which we’ve rolled out a new Virgo interface based on Project Blacklight (first prototyped here in the Scholars’ Lab!) — to see more ephemera from UVa Library’s long engagement with digital research.

Computing humanist/humane computationalist since 1996. Director of Digital Research & Scholarship at the University of Virginia Library and Special Advisor to the Provost at UVa. A Distinguished Presidential Fellow at CLIR, the Council on Library and Information Resources, @nowviskie is also the immediate Past President of the Association for Computers and the Humanities and a…


  1. What Joe has must be some of Paul Bergen’s old files.

    I know I left behind some inherited early Etext ephemera — from David to Mike to me… I can’t now remember who I foisted them onto.

  2. From an inherited file folder labeled “GeoStat Pre-History,” I’m currently perusing a July 1992 report entitled “Automated Mapping and Spatial Analysis: the Use of Geographic Information Systems in Teaching, Research, Management, and Public Service at the University of Virginia — A Cross-Discipline Effort,” leading to the creation of the “Alderman GIS Lab.”


Library Juice » Ephemera from UVa Library’s computing past

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