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HCLE Second Quarter 2015 Progress Report

Welcome to the second quarter of 2015 HCLE report. We share many of these news items via our outlets (wiki, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and collect them here for your and our convenience.

Our staff of 1.3 FTEs, several volunteers and many outside collaborators reached the following milestones in the spring quarter of 2015.

  • Attended and presented at a series of conferences (AAM, MW, Brink, STS)
  • Contacted original members of the Homebrew Computer Club for stories and funding
  • Creation of a metadata superset for simplified coordination with other institutions
  • Developed a list of supportive scholars for future proposals
  • Expanded our list of collaborators including, Pratt SILS, OAC/CDL, CITE, Henry Ford Museum, SHOT CIS, …
  • Extended our outreach via podcasts, and possible publications

With these accomplishments (and with the appropriate funding) HCLE should be able to produce a Proof Of Concept virtual museum web site in 2015. Subsequent to the proof of concept will be the major tasks of digitizing and curating the collection, and designing the complete virtual museum interface. Those tasks may not be completed in 2015, but significant progress is anticipated.

Please pass our news along, especially if you know someone else who will want to contribute money, know-how, artifacts, stories, or connections. Even by glancing at what we’ve done, you’re helping make HCLE happen as you pass along the story. Thank you.


 

  • LO*OP Center

    • Open Education Systems (OES)
      • Liza published the first draft of the OES concept on the HCLE wiki. HCLE is about the past. OES is about the future. The two naturally work together with HCLE providing the data and insights that direct the OES vision.

 

  • Fundraising

  • HCLE currently relies on general operating funds provided by LO*OP Center, Inc. Future sustainability requires additional underwriting from individuals, members, foundations and government agencies. At present there are no plans to generate revenue through fees to access the Virtual Museum.
    • To increase the chances of grant awards, we initiated a search for a professional fundraiser/grantwriter. No selection has been made, yet.
    • CLIR
      • A proposal for the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) was prepared but not submitted. The exercise, however, produced an impressive list of scholars and collaborators who now support our work.
    • A letter to scholars has been drafted to encourage research, maintain relations and to provide a source of Letters of Support for grant proposals.
    • We made a direct appeal to member of the original Homebrew Computer Club. While the primary intent is to collect their stories, a secondary benefit is to increase our visibility to potential funders. See Stories for their response.
    • A draft was created for a Kickstarter project to crowdfund the Proof of Concept.
    • We have received a promise of grant writing assistance from Jeremias Herberg (Luneburg University).

 

  • Operations/Virtual Museum Web Site

  • As HCLE progresses from the present start-up phase into normal operation this section will enlarge.
    • Proof Of Concept (PoC) web site
      • Preliminary conversations were carried out with Jessica Sullivan about the Proof of Concept web site. Preliminary specifications were sketched out. The PoC site is a high priority. Funding is being sought with public, crowdfunded, and private sources.

 

  • Collection

  • The content of the HCLE Virtual Museum comprises materials collected and preserved by founder-director Liza Loop and currently owned by LO*OP Center, Inc. Additional items are being donated and related items, owned and hosted online by other individuals and institutions are being referenced in the HCLE catalog.
    • The Collection continues to be digitized as resources allow. Mark Pilgrim is digitizing Apple ][ disks, Anthony Cocciolo (Pratt Institute) digitized various floppies and Betamax tapes, and Jerry Herberg (Luneberg University) aided Liza in sorting, cataloging, and digitizing parts of the Collection. Discussions with Henry Lowood (Stanford) and Fred Turner (Stanford) continue.
    • All digitization efforts are being encouraged to use the Catalog, though some translations may be required.

 

  • Catalog

  • The Catalog is the software that contains and manages the database. No free open-source software was found that met our criteria, so we are developing this capability internally.
    • The Catalog is in use and enabling the digitization of the Collection.
    • Stan Crump, our programmer, improved the operation and coordinated with the digitization project at Pratt. The more we use it, the more we learn about how it must handle needs such as multiple users; especially, collaborators.

 

  • Metadata

  • Information about each item is stored in the Catalog and can be displayed in various formats for scholars, museum staff and visitors. Maintaining a rich set of metadata is essential for locating documents and images as well as understanding their context and significance.

    • Svetlana Ushakova completed her metadata crosswalk work, effectively providing a comparison between three external metadata sets (EADS, MARC, Dublin) with our internal metadata set.
    • A metadata superset was created based on the work done by Svetlana. A superset will allow us to capture enough metadata to export subsets that match the requirements of collaborators.
    • Svetlana will document some of her work as part of a class project.
    • We began a search for a new metadata coordinator because Svetlana needs to concentrate on her studies.
    • We prepared a metadata schema (list of fields with explanations) and distributed it to various collaborators so we can better coordinate our efforts.
    • We’ll pass along this quote from a collaborator that distinguishes metadata from search data.
      • museums systems were not developed with public search in mind, and they do not support much descriptive metadata.” – from Ellice Engdahl

 

  • Wiki

  • This informal web site serves as an online rallying resource for those building the formal Virtual Museum. It will continue to provide a virtual sandbox and conversation pit for staff and volunteers after the museum site is launched.

    • The wiki continues to grow and the style continues to mature and stabilize. A restructuring has been proposed, but only style elements have been incorporated. This may take a dedicated individual for an intense, short-term effort. The main additions have been:
      • OES (see LO*OP Center above)
      • PIAL Play It And Learn (the draft of the games section)

 

  • Stories

  • Our stories highlight how folks learned to use computers between 1955 and 1995 and how and what teachers taught with them. Our emphasis is on learning and teaching; we leave documenting the history of the computing industry to others. Our story tellers are not the celebrities of the high tech revolution. They are the unsung heroes who changed the way we educate ourselves and our children.
    • HCLE EdTech Pioneers: our growing list
      • We launched a new initiative to contact each HCLE EdTech Pioneer, if possible, asking them to improve their pages, nominate others for the list, and contribute, information, insights, artifacts, introductions and any other resources that HCLE can use.
        • The following people were kind enough to be interviewed; and have nominated several other EdTech Pioneers.
          • Liza Loop, our founder – whose page hadn’t been given the attention it deserved, until we consolidated several pages into one.
          • Bob Albrecht – interviewed by Jon Cappetta and possible blog
          • Glen Bull – who will also propose to CITE’s funders about publishing Pioneer stories on a regular basis, and who may work with Jacoby Young on podcasts.
        • The following people have been contacted. There have been some improvements to their pages, but the bulk of the material awaits existing links or an interview.
          • Marge Cappo
          • Kevin Lund
          • Mitchel Resnick
          • Dan Bricklin (Innovator)
      • HCLE Pioneer Meeting
        • We are organizing a meeting of the HCLE Pioneers to demonstrate our appreciation, provide a venue for collaboration and gather more stories. Formal, structured interviews are useful, but informal, casual conversations from Pioneer to Pioneer may reveal insights an interviewer wouldn’t know to pursue.
    • Atari podcast
      • Thanks to an interview of Liza Loop on an Atari podcast, contacts were made that may extend the reach of our Pioneers’ stories
        • Jacoby Young – podcast
        • Glen Bull (CITE) – an HCLE column in the CITE Journal

 

  • Exhibits

  • Online exhibits will simulate a gallery of objects to wander through, take the visitor on a guided tour or invite hands-on participation.
    • PIAL Play It And Learn (the draft of the games section)
      • The PIAL exhibit will provide gamers and the curious the opportunity to play the original games within browser-based emulators of the original environment, while providing data to researchers interested in investigating what the gamers learned, and how.
        • A draft page has been produced and will be heavily modified.
        • Bibliographic references to game design have been added to aid designers and researchers.

 

  • Outreach

  • As a new institution, HCLE is making contacts in the worlds of museums, formal education and independent learners — both online and face-to-face.
    • Conferences
      • A variety of conferences, seminars, and gatherings were attended to improve HCLE’s network, identify interested scholars, publicize our progress, enlist collaborators, and identify potential funders.
        • Museums and the Web
          • attendance and blog
        • Alliance of American Museums
          • attendance and represent Online Museum Working Group
        • Brink Institute
          • panel participation and blog
        • Science and Technology Retreat Conference
          • recruiting for HCLE
    • Publications
      • We are pursuing the (re)publication of two books:
        • ComputerTown USA! e-book
        • Future Flashback – a new look at the past and future of educational technology
          • We are considering convening an Ed Tech Pioneer private meeting to generate additional material for Future Flashback
    • Podcasts
      • Liza Loop participated in one podcast (Atari) which may inspire an HCLE series through the actions of Jacoby Young.
    • Social Media
      • We have been reasonably successful at engaging other professionals by commenting on and sharing posts and publications found on social media. Though informal, these contacts have expanded our network and produced opportunities for collaborations, funding, and increased visibility.
      • We continue to use social media as a source of Initial contacts
      • Social Media Traffic Report
1/1/2014 12/29/2014 3/28/2015 6/30/2015
Facebook 59 91 92 97
Twitter 67 271 294 354
WordPress 18 42 43 46
Wikispaces 12 41 42 49
  • #EdTech could use a dose of #EdTechHistory

 


 

  • People/Volunteers

  • We are a community of builders, researchers, educators, learners and enthusiasts. We aim to recognize each person who contributes to HCLE. Their contributions are described throughout this newsletter
    • Svetlana Ushakova – Metadata coordinator, soon to be emeritus
    • Stan Crump – Programmer, soon to be emeritus
    • Jon Cappetta – Interviewer (Liza Loop, Bob Albrecht)
    • Helen Passey – in negotiations for graphic illustration
    • Jeremias Herberg – assisted Collection, is a Collaborator, and may provide insights into funding

 

  • Collaborations

  • HCLE is such a small organization that it must join with more established partners to accomplish its mission. Happily, we are finding willing colleagues.
    • Associate Professor Anthony Cocciolo from Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Sciences enlisted a class of students to help digitize and present some of HCLE’s artifacts.
      • Artifacts: floppies and Betamax
      • Timing: summer project
      • Coordination: Anthony and Stan are getting media into catalog
    • Henry Ford Museum
      • Liza Loop visited the Ford to establish contact and to investigate possible collaborations.
    • Letters of Support (consequence of preparing CLIR proposal)
    • OAC/CDL (works with DPLA) – contact = Adrian Turner
      • Application to be Contributing Institution in process
    • Texas Coast Bend Collection shared their (private) example of a digital museum.
    • tschak909 – Thom Cherryhomes, Atari Education System
    • Kimon – exhibit, Retrocomputing

 

  • Admininstration

  • Even virtual organizations must attend to the tasks that make them “real” within the surrounding social and governmental context.
    • Possible Advisory Meeting
      • We are considering convening an advisory meeting to get an informed, outside opinion of HCLE’s progress and direction.
        • IEEE History Project
        • SHOT
        • Museum of Play
        • The Henry Ford
        • Larry Cuban
    • Newsletters
      • We continue the production of these quarterly newsletters, partly to spread the word about our progress, and partly to capture and preserve the history of this history museum.
    • Backups
      • They may be dull, but backups are a high priority for a virtual museum.

 

 

What Is The Name Of Apple’s Second Computer

Not a trivial question: How do you spell the name of Apple’s second computer? The question seems trivial, and is simple enough to dive into; but, the answers reveal one challenge that museums, archives, libraries, and collections must face. Knowing one name is not enough – and that not even the company that generated the history gets the history right.

Archivists need to track artifacts. That sounds simple enough. Build a database. Fill in a description of every item. Pat yourself on your back. Then search the database for histories, connections, and relationships. If it was only that simple.

People are not automatons. They don’t know if or how an idea is going to progress. Why worry about consequences decades in the future when you’re scrambling to survive today?

HCLE is fortunate to have number 10 of Apple’s second computer. Great. Lets add it into the recently constructed database. Typos matter. Spell it right. Is it Apple 2, Apple II, Apple ii, Apple //, or Apple ][? Check a bit of history and find that the hardware may have one thing stamped on it. Apple ][. What’s a ][? A ][ is a clever bit of marketing, and a bit of fun, too. A ][ is not, however, something that works well with computers. Isn’t that ironic?

photo: bilby/wikicommons

Versions of the machine also used Apple II, Apple ii, and Apple //, if not on the plate, then at least in the literature. Journalists who didn’t check their details created other variants. How about Apple-2? We humans can translate the differences, but we must train our computers to do the same thing. For the archivist, it means knowing which variations to include in the databases so searches, searchers, and artifacts don’t get lost. Knowing all the names is necessary.

Original Apple computers are valuable. HCLE is fortunate enough to have a couple of the earliest, so getting this right is worth our time.

Protecting such valuable artifacts also means keeping them safe and secure, which gets in the way of checking such details. We resorted to the literature. That’s simple enough. Just do a search. And welcome back to the original problem.

Congratulations to Apple. The company is nice enough to have user manuals online that stretch back almost far enough. 36 pages into the support.apple.com/manuals site is a 74 page seemingly typewritten document for the Apple IIe, not the Apple II, but close.

Introduce a major distraction for historians and technical writers. Dive into that file. There are no graphics. Everything is laid out for standard paper. A few key terms are explained in the first few paragraphs. Hardware and software were new terms. Pages 49-62 are Glossary because owners and users had to learn a new vocabulary, some of which is archaic a few decades later, some of which is part of our normal language now. In the middle is a style of user manual writing that is uncommon today. Troubleshooting was broken up by topic, with each topic explained in a few concise but colloquial sentences that described the problem, the solution – and more importantly, used the error to teach the user more about the computer.

A major positive distraction for us at HCLE is the substantial amount of material in the document devoted to education. The computer was designed for the classroom, rather than today’s standard which is to design the classroom around the computer.

Educational Software

Programs that teach are called educational software, or courseware.

Computers are good teachers because they give you a chance to learn at your own speed in an interactive, entertaining way. To give you an idea of how entertaining a computer program can be, there’s a program that teaches touch typing in the guise of a shoot ’em up game. Letters and words are fired at your spaceship from the four corners of the screen, and you have to type the correct letter or word before the letters crash into your vehicle.

Educational software isn’t just for kids. There are programs that help you prepare for college entrance exams and that tutor you in foreign languages for your next trip abroad.

There are sections about PILOT, Programmed Inquiry, Learning, or Teaching that helped you design your own CAI, Computer Aided-Instruction; and Logo, a programming language designed to teach programming through computer graphics. There are also sections about how users can learn more either independently by going to a bookstore and thumbing through directors, or by finding local user groups.

Distractions aside, the gap remained. What was the official name of the pre-Apple IIe?

Did the original Apple even have a number? Just like World War I wasn’t called that until World War II, maybe that first computer had a different name. A quick search through a few of the publications that have been digitized brought up an ad for the original Apple. Sure enough, the first Apple was called Apple, at least in the ad. Why hint at the second machine when you’re not sure if the first is going to sell? There was also another image found in the search. It is a photo of HCLE’s original Apple. There, on the circuit board is the full name, Apple Computer 1, not Apple 1, or Apple-1, or Apple I, or Apple i, but Apple Computer 1. The problem just got bigger.

Apple 1

Very little of this matters to non-collectors, and most collectors are comfortable with imperfections because language is imperfect. The computer, however, must be taught tolerance.

Our best answer will come from a trip to the vault which, considering the value of the artifacts, is off-site and unfortunately inconvenient for now. In the meantime we have a bit of an expansion to make to our catalog.

Regardless of our museum’s issues, dive into the Apple IIe manual and learn things like:

  • 64k is enough memory for most homes and businesses
  • The only people who need surge protectors are those who are extremely cautious.
  • Losing data is extremely rare.
  • A short history of how Apple got its name. A deadline was involved.
  • and that
  • “Unless you’re a collector, the Apple I isn’t much of a bargain; the computer sells for between $10,000 and $15,000.”

So, even Apple didn’t know how to spell Apple 1. Yep.

Oh yes, and

Should I worry if I find myself talking to my Apple IIe?

No. Lots of people talk to their computers, especially when they’re just learning to use them.

What’s nice about the current crop of computers is that they can’t understand what you’re

saying. In a decade or so, you may have to watch your language.

Yep.

Self-publishers spread the know-how from 1974 on…

Virginia Tech Professor,  Dave Larsen, started reaching beyond his classroom with self-published Bugbooks in 1974.  Most of his readers were hobbyist or in other professions, not computer scientists. Dave’s books were standard fare at LO*OP Center, computer conferences and hobby clubs where people hungry for information about computers gathered to learn and teach.

reblog from Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum, What is in a Name

 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vintage Computers – What is in a Name – How we are named the “Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum”

Why we call our museum the “Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum”  – here is the short story.

Bugbook III

I call our museum  “The Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum”  is because of the original  “Bugbooks” .

Museum bugs

About 1974 I was part of a team that produced these books. The first two Bugbooks were written and published by Professor Rony and I.  I named the books Bugbooks because the small digital integrated circuits looked like a bug with its legs.  Professor Rony typed the manuscripts and we self published the first few printings of the “Bugbooks” .  These books were the start of a book series called “The Blacksburg Continuing Education Series” .  The books covered various topics of digital electronics, computers and software. Dr. John Titus and Dr. Chris Titus joined the group and became important members of our team.

Bugbooks 1 & 2 for sale 1975

During the period 1974 to 1984 about 75 books were published with a circulation of over 1 million copies.  Our team hired 31  authors to help write books in the series. In addition to the books our team designed several computers and other teaching / engineering aids that were sold world wide. John Titus was the computer designer and I designed the digital engineering  / teaching hardware aids. Most or the books were published and marketed by “Howard W Sams” and the hardware was marked by “E and L Instruments” in Derby Connecticut.  Many engineers, technicians and  electronic hobbyist of the late 70’s and 80s used  these books and hardware.  All the books and hardware are on display in our museum.

Howard W Sams Advertising Display of “Blacksburg series books.

A reoccurring comment from  folks visiting the museum is – I  learned digital electronics from the “Bugbooks”.  The experience with the Blacksburg Group started my interest in collecting microcomputer memorabilia for 40 years and has resulted in the thousands of items collected and the small display in the museum. The Bugbook story involves many relationships, interesting events and eclectic people.  It is my  intent to get the details of these adventures in writing — soon I hope.

 

 

 

Howard W Sams Book catalog with the “Blacksburg Continuing Education Series” Books for sale – about 1978

 

E and L catalog 1977 with all the Blacksburg Group books and hardware for sale.
See Video’s about Dave’s Historical Computer Collection CLICK.

Finding Funds For Niches

Found any funding lately? We are like other niche museums working to safeguard big ideas, frugally hunting for the right partners who aren’t constrained by convention. Maybe we can help each other.

Except for windfalls and fortuitous serendipity, funding new ventures starts with a seemingly forlorn search. Funders have resources and goals, but look to others to do the work. Founders have the passion for the work, but not necessarily the funds. The broader the idea, the easier the search. The narrower the idea, the more reasons to find help about how to find help. Welcome to the world of finding funding for the History of Computing in Learning and Education Virtual Museum (HCLE).

Some ideas are obvious and global. Memorials for wars, archives for art, libraries for personages, all have people who felt passionate about them. Their establishments required massive fundraising campaigns, but that’s also because they could expect to reach massive audiences. Intense emotions are behind the Vietnam and World War II monuments. Pivotal artists like Picasso or Ansel Adams have a core of patrons from which to draw. Presidential libraries count on dedicated constituents to build impressive facilities.

Some ideas are just as vital, yet easy to overlook. HCLE aims to help everyone understand how he or she learns. More particularly we highlight how computing has changed that process. Within the last few decades we have new tools to help us learn, and yet there’s no museum, archive or website dedicated to preserving and understanding that history of these innovations or their implications — except HCLE.

Our Virtual Museum sits at the overlapping boundaries of history, computers, computing, education, and learning. It’s unconventional because it is virtual.MW2014 Lightning Talk slide 2 And it covers an epoch that is within living memory but easily forgotten by young scholars. There are plenty of natural and national history museums. Computers are finally being recognized as historically significant, with increasing traffic to computer history sites as proof. Computing, as contrasted with computers, as a museum focus may not be as obvious, yet playing vintage games online is growing in popularity. Education, a fundamental activity in all our lives, has very few museums commemorating it. Museums do educate us but rarely invite us to step back and reflect on the process. Learning, that process which changes the individual (as compared with teaching or schooling), in both formal and informal settings, is more often assumed than studied. If there’s a museum of learning, please tell us about it. Virtual museums are so new they have yet to be reflected in the government funding (though we are hoping to help change that with the Online Museum Working Group.)

As we said in our Lightning Talk at the 2014 Museums and the Web conference:

  • Funding a museum about one topic is hard.
  • Funding a museum about two topics is harder.
  • Funding a museum about three topics is hardest.

As we approach funders, we encounter computer advocates who aren’t much interested in education, education advocates who are interested in tomorrow’s technology but not yesterday’s, software enthusiasts who are only passionate about games but not what the player learns from them, proponents of each major topic who realize the major topic isn’t covered well enough and therefore are less inclined to support the work at the boundaries where the overlaps live.

As a result, we must have many more conversations with organizations that aren’t focused exactly in our hybrid field. We hope to find enough common ground to fit into their agendas or to convince them to adjust their organizational borders.

Established museums have, almost by definition, established funding. The initial hurdles have been cleared, and while funding may change, there’s a history of sustained performance, an audience, and direction. If one funder leaves, another may be identified through association. Almost every non-profit has a tenuous future, but momentum helps. New institutions like ours are especially challenged.

We are like many niche, small, and new museums. Our momentum may not be as impressive because momentum is mass times velocity, and no matter how fast we work, we don’t have much mass behind us. We can’t demonstrate the sustainability of our future because we’re still creating our present. We’re doing as much as we can with what we have. We are frugal by necessity, doing a lot with very little, relatively speaking.

Frugality and efficiency are not key criteria for funders. They may be fine criteria ideologically, but in reality the criteria are more bureaucratic and historic. Conventional grant processes ask for information that is reasonable, except in proportion to the size of the organization asking for the funds. Large and small grant proposals take almost the same amount of scarce organizational resources to complete. A five page proposal sounds simple, yet if it asks for historical financial reports, several negotiated commitment letters, detailed program plans, while adhering to strict formatting, then a small museum can be so overwhelmed that all the day-to-day museum work must be postponed for days or weeks while proposal writing is going on. The process is nearly the same for a grant of a few thousand dollars as it would be for a few hundred thousand dollars.

As frustrating as a niche’s search may be, it is encouraging to know that diversity provides possibilities. Unconventional ideas do succeed. Take an entertaining look at some niche museums in a recent Mental Floss video about weird museums. Almost all of them found funding though probably through unconventional means.

Ironically, the History of Computing in Learning and Education actually touches on a trending topic: EdTech, Educational Technology. Billions of dollars are being spent on technology for learning, both inside and beyond the classroom. People and organizations are trying to solve problems in, and change the future of, education and learning through the use of hardware, software and communications technology. Unfortunately, these people often fail to look back at the problems of the past and previous attempts at solutions.

We sit at the periphery of many topics, as do many niche organizations. We’re working towards funding by talking to as many of our neighbors as possible. If you can think of some person or organization to contact, please pass along their contact information. And, if we can do the same for you and your organization, please contact us. The best resource we have is each other.

HCLE Second Quarter 2014 Progress Report

HCLE Second Quarter 2014 Progress Report

Welcome to the second HCLE quarterly report (second quarter of 2014). We share many of these news items via our outlets (wiki, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and collect them here for your and our convenience.

So much has been going on that we’ve barely had time to reflect upon our progress. The following is a long list of items that we’ve worked on in the last three months. Consider them headlines, and if you want more details behind them, send us a note if there isn’t a link. (You’re also invited to browse our wiki, the virtual museum’s electronic loading dock, where many of these topics have working pages.)

Please pass it along, especially if you know someone else who will want to contribute money, time, artifacts, stories, or connections. Even by glancing at what we’ve done, you’re helping make HCLE happen if you pass along the story. Thank you.

Operations

  • Digital Repository
  • Stanford
    • Henry Lowood enabling digitization of HCLE collection
    • Fred Turner using HCLE archive as class material
  • Internet Archive
    • referred us to Mark Pilgrim who will copy all Apple II disks
  • database
    • preliminary screens running on HostGator.
  • Writing Competition / Story Project
    • two winners: Delia Caban & Jane Wilson
  • example exhibits being reviewed to aid design
  • Proof of Concept
  • Back Office Thinking proposal incorporated into program plan

Funding

  • government and institutions
    • Proposal applications submitted
      • NEH – Preservation and Access
        • recommendations on how best to archive HCLE’s collection
      • ESA – Oregon Trail
        • build exhibit and research platform for study of games and education
      • NEH – Digital Projects for the Public
        • production and publication of Design Document for HCLE’s Virtual Museum
    • Proposal applications in process
      • NEH – Humanities Collection and Reference Resource
        • digitization and cataloging of documents and software in HCLE collection (cancelled after conferring with NEH)
      • Cal-Hum – California Humanities
        • Oral History project of California EdTech Pioneers
    • Complete list of proposals available on the wiki
  • Individuals
    • Vision Club – Lisa Webster, Joi Ito
    • Vision Club newsletter
  • Corporate & Foundations
    • Google NYC
    • GE Foundation
    • Vulcan
    • Hewlett Foundation
    • Mellon Foundation
  • Associations – ACM, IEEE,  ISTE
  • Reviewing Foundation Center
  • Reviewing GetEdFunding.com
  • HCLE to donor introductory letter prepared for:
    • Liza to individual – done (HNW letter)
    • Liza to organization – done but up for revision
    • HCLE to individual (Fundraising Letter HCLE-to-one Vision Club invite)
    • HCLE to organization (Fundraising Letter HCLE-to-many)
  • Funding database updated and planned to be ported to CiviCRM on HostGator
  • other contacts made:
    • Brabson Library & Educational Foundation
    • Tech Museum of Innovation
    • EMC Heritage Trust Project
  • in search of: volunteer to implement CiviCRM on HostGator

Outreach

  • Social Media traffic report
1/1/2014 3/29/2014 6/29/2014
Facebook 59 71 80
Twitter 67 98 194
WordPress 18 29 31
Wikispaces 12 25 28

Collaborations

  • Stanford
    • Henry Lowood enabling digitization of HCLE collection
      • People’s Computer Company
    • Fred Turner using HCLE archive as class material
  • Internet Archive
    • referred us to Mark Pilgrim who will copy all Apple II disks
  • Living Computer Museum
    • Justin Speilmann
      • Discussion of designing and operating our Traveling Exhibit
    • Cynde Moya
      • Archiving practices and consultation referrals
  • HCLE is now a partner in the National Digital Stewardship Alliance
  • The Made (themade.org) Peter Suk & Alex Handy
    • How early games designers learned their craft
  • Southampton, Earl Graeme – possible UK trip and talk
  • RICHES Mosaic Interface – innovative online museum
  • New York School – LL intro
  • NIU – Blackwell Museum of Education – email intro sent
  • NMOE – National Museum of Education – email intro sent
  • American Folklife Center, Library of Congress – Nicole Saylor (Nicky), Head of the Archive, – technical connection
  • David Larsen – @Apple1Computer
  • U of MD – Porter Olsen
  • Cathleen Wiggins, Dir. Museum Ed & Leadership in Tech and the arts, Bankstreet Sch of Ed – lft msg
  • Pratt School of Library and Information Sciences, Craig MacDonald, Prof Interested in collaborating and will connect us to other Pratt profs., specifically Anthony Cocciolo who is teaching “Projects in Digital Archiving”
  • Alex Lin, http://faculty.ndhu.edu.tw/~aleck.lin/#pr
  • Karen Kroslowitz, Dir of Collections, Computer History Museum
  • EMS museum – Kristy vanHoven

People – staff, volunteers, participants, unaffiliated, possible contractors/consultants

  • board development
  • Vision Club – Walter Isaacson NEH talk & NPR interview
  • Delia Caban – volunteer, retired for now
  • MsBosh – volunteer
  • Diana Morningstar – professional databaser
  • new volunteers
    • Shalinie De
    • Jonathan Straus
  • PCGuy (Stan) – catalog team
  • Jessica Sullivan – possible consultant
  • Ekatarina in  Ontario with McMaster Online Museums
  • Roy Pea, Stanford Sch. of Ed.
  • Peter Sessions – HCLE Pioneer
  • Marvin Wisenread

Admin

  • Program Plan – updated to support operations, internal budgeting, and proposals
  • Reconciling previous budgets with current proposals
  • Dunn & Bradstreet registration and update
  • SAM registration and update
  • In search of: a volunteer accountant willing to work on non-profits that are in the midst of grants
  • In search of: an HCLE logo

 

Assessing Preservation of the HCLE Archive

We know what we need to do. But how do we describe it so others understand (and fund) the work?

2013 and 2014 are when HCLE has been building the framework for the construction of the Virtual Museum. General plans are in place. Initial collaborations have begun. Our network is extending into all the necessary fields: humanities, history, education, computing, computers, curation, preservation, exhibits, etc. Now the details begin to reveal themselves.

HCLE is applying for an NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Preservation Assessment Grant. (HCLE > NEH PAG – Maybe we all need shorter names.) Our first step is straightforward to us: get the right help to steer us to the best way to turn a collection into a widely-accessible digital repository. Every collection starts with a bit of chaos. Now is when we put some order to the informalities.

Here’s our draft abstract. You are welcome to comment.

1. Project abstract

The target collection is an historical record of the introduction of computing into teaching/learning environments from the early 1960s to 1990. It comprises documents (publications, correspondence, notes, manuals, product inserts, etc.), software (printed listings, paper tape, magnetic tape, audio cassette tape, various floppy disk formats), hardware (mini- and micro-computers and peripherals), and recorded conferences and interviews (multiple formats). The goal is stabilizing, preserving and inventorying educational software and supporting documents used in teaching of the humanities. In the case of historic software, transferring software from historical to modern media is not a simple case of reformatting; it is preservation because a) the original magnetic media will degrade and b) devices capable of accessing the software from original media are rapidly becoming unavailable.

Creating a digital repository sounds simple, but it only stays that way if every artifact is like the rest. Hundreds of copies of a magazine can all be processed the same way as one. Our collection is a mix of documents, software, and hardware. The documents exist as newsprint, mimeographs, dot matrix, hand-written notes, instructions on the backs of boxes, etc. The software is on such a diverse media that we may find that no one has a complete collection of drives and readers; and then, some of the software is stored as printed text that must be typed in.

a selection of the collection
a selection of the collection

Error checking may require proper emulation environments to make sure each program operates properly. (And then someone has to play the games to make sure they work.) The hardware was usually designed to only last a few years. Obsolescence wasn’t planned. Technology changed so quickly that everything was effectively obsolete as soon as it was available for sale.

We plan to hire a consultant to provide a professional opinion, and as usual be very grateful to our volunteers. While this may seem like a small task, it is a necessary one that will enable the very existence of our Virtual Museum. These are exciting times for our (currently) small museum. Thanks for being a part of it, even as a spectator.

MW2014 Provided Perspective

A week ago, Liza and Tom represented and presented HCLE at the Museums and the Web conference. Like many of the attendees, we published a blog post to collect our thoughts. This last week was a good opportunity to read posts from others to get a different perspective. Many of them are useful (search on #MW2014 if you want a long list) and one in particular struck a chord in ways the author probably didn’t intend. Thank you, Kati Price, for an inspiration and a reason for reflection.

Kati summarized the conference in “Ten Digital Lessons”. Taking the headings alone points out the similarities between technology entering the museum space and technology as it entered the classroom – decades earlier.

1. Digital transformation is hard – Change is rarely easy, and change that involves technology introduces change in capability, control, and complexity. If capability didn’t promise an improvement the change wouldn’t happen. While technology is potentially enabling, it also shifts some of the control to the computer, and the computer operator. That can be an uncomfortable challenge to existing authority figures. Computers make our lives simpler? Does anyone expect that, even with today’s mature technology? Imagine what it was like for a teacher in 1976 operating without support.

2. Measure what you value not value what you measure – We manage best when we can measure the critical outcome; yet, that’s always been an issue with education. Computers allowed data collection, but it wasn’t necessarily the right data. If it was, there’d be far fewer debates in the education field. The sooner the right measures are found, the sooner things improve.

3. There’s a load of brilliant free stuff out there – That wasn’t as much the case with the early computers, and yet, somehow teachers with very little budget found supportive companies and organizations that would open access to closed systems; or, with the right convincing, provide a machine or two. Software was free. All you had to do was write it up and type it in. Good luck, and celebrate the fact that it will be a learning experience.

4. Everyone loves a good metaphor – And metaphors were necessary as computers were introduced. Many administrators and others had no frame of reference from which to build an understanding of what was possible. A lot of good stories were told (and we’re collecting them for our museum.)

5. Modes and motivations are more important than segments and sectors – Much of human progress is driven by passion, curiosity, and necessity. Educators were motivated by a love of helping others learn; regardless of logic about markets and demographics. They aimed at a future that redefined segments and sectors.

6. Responsiveness is not just about devices – A common mistake in any technology introduction is to focus on the equipment. A lot of effort and expense may have been involved in acquiring it, so naturally it draws attention. But it is necessary to remember why the device was introduced. Hardware without software is useless; and software that provides solutions that have nothing to do with the problems is equally useless. Remember #2, what is truly of value?

7. There’s a fine line between content curation and creation – The analogy may not be as strong here, but we at HCLE have to deal with what to curate. What was truly created in a classroom in 1976: a piece of software, the beginnings of a network, a new way to learn and teach, or a group of educated students?

8. Work out your MVP – At MW2014, MVP was Minimum Viable Product, to distinguish if from Most Valuable Player; but for HCLE, Most Valuable Player is important to us. We are trying to identify and understand the influence of the Most Valuable Players that influenced the way we learned a new way to learn. See our Pioneers list for a start.

9. US Museums rock – This is true, and we are impressed. (We’re also impressed with their budgets, but that’s another issue.) As we develop our museum though we’re becoming that much more aware that our issue is global and that HCLE may eventually not be considered to be a US museum. The nature of a virtual museum means we may be sees as international, and necessarily multi-lingual and multi-cultural.

10. Museum digital folk are awesome – Yep. No argument there.

The question arises, “Why got to conferences?” HCLE lives at the intersection of so many fields (e.g. museums, history, computers, computing, education, learning) that the only conference that targets us would be one that we held, and it would be very small. But Kati’s post is a good reminder that the insights are powerful even if the specifics aren’t exact.

Thanks to everyone for their points of view. And keep in mind, the transition museums are going through now may be very similar to transitions that have already taken place. It is a good reason for all of us to look outside our own fields. (Which is something we are doing too, but that’s another story.