By Markus Krajewski
Today on virtually each table in each workplace sits a working laptop or computer. 80 years in the past, computers have been outfitted with a nonelectronic info processing computer: a card dossier. In Paper Machines, Markus Krajewski lines the evolution of this proto-computer of rearrangeable components (file playing cards) that turned ubiquitous in places of work among the realm wars.
The tale starts with Konrad Gessner, a sixteenth-century Swiss polymath who defined a brand new approach to processing information: to chop up a sheet of handwritten notes into slips of paper, with one truth or subject in line with slip, and set up as wanted. within the overdue eighteenth century, the cardboard catalog grew to become the librarian's solution to the specter of details overload. Then, on the flip of the 20th century, company followed the know-how of the cardboard catalog as a bookkeeping device. Krajewski explores this conceptual improvement and casts the cardboard dossier as a "universal paper computer" that accomplishes the uncomplicated operations of Turing's common discrete computer: storing, processing, and shifting facts. In telling his tale, Krajewski takes the reader on a couple of illuminating detours, telling us, for instance, that the cardboard catalog and the numbered highway deal with emerged whilst within the similar urban (Vienna), and that Harvard University's home-grown cataloging method grew out of a librarian's laziness; and that Melvil Dewey (originator of the Dewey Decimal method) helped lead to the know-how move of card records to business.
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Extra resources for Paper machines : about cards & catalogs, 1548-1929
His formerly direct control over masses of books wanes and becomes the domain and occupation of librarians. Scholars are forced to compile personal catalogs after their own fashion to organize notes and excerpts. 52 Chapter 4 Material gathered and compiled contains a small library, diminished in complexity. It sorts addresses so as to address thoughts. If, in the end, the catalog movement successfully overcomes the personal memory of a localized library and takes its place, then the requirement to serve as a commemorative place for books is also relinquished.
Written instructions are by no means common prior to the end of the eighteenth century. 75 The instruction is elaborated in two phases. 78 These commands are further enriched by a ﬂowchart, guiding order and approach to coordinated labors. The ﬁnal version is sent to van Swieten to serve as a standardization program. The goal of a uniﬁed, adequate catalog can be reached only if one can ward off the risk that the data will be arbitrarily diversiﬁed whenever employees act randomly. These are some remarks that might ﬁnd room in a further edition of the regulations for furnishing a new catalog, at least in part, so that I allow myself most obediently to send them to Your Grace.
106 These conﬁscations require ﬁnding a way to tell the nation what belongs to the nation. General stocktaking begins in 1790, stopping a sell-off of the books—mostly for the mere price of paper—and keeping them in public libraries. On October 16, 1790, a committee is formed that devotes itself twice a week exclusively to the question of the mobile goods of the church, particularly what to do with books and art. 107 As proposed by one of its members, Louis-François-de-Paul Lefèvre d’Ormesson, the committee pursues the idea of compiling a national bibliography of all French books on the basis of inventory lists in the individual districts.