Tag Archives: researchers

Request To Academic And Independent Scholars

A Request to Academic and Independent Scholars
from The History of Computing in Learning and Education Virtual Museum

We could use your help and your support, which should help us support your work.

A Mellon/CLIR grant is being offered to scan and digitize hidden collections, artifacts that have been overlooked or are difficult to access. We are making our collection of pioneering education technology artifacts available to researchers and the public, and this grant from CLIR and Mellon would greatly enhance our efforts. Proposal evaluators will be looking for evidence that the scholarly community wants access to our collection.  A letter that demonstrates your interest in, and support for, HCLE would strengthen our proposal and also teach us more about what we should emphasize to increase our utility to you.

Our deadline for the preliminary proposal is the end of March, 2015. If you can work within that schedule, we’d like to include as many letters as we can. Should we be invited to submit a final proposal we can add additional letters through the end of May. If the History of Computing in Learning and Education isn’t a serious focus for you, please refer any other scholars or institutions to us that might be interested.

The proposal guidelines: http://www.clir.org/hiddencollections/applicants

Our wiki (aka the museum’s digital loading dock): http://hcle.org/

Much of the early work of introducing computers and computing into education and learning environments is documented via media that is not on archival materials, isn’t stored in organized collections, has never been digitized/scanned and has no associated metadata. This information is perishable, so there is an urgency to preserve these notes and publications. Even published journal articles are often inaccessible because they haven’t been scanned or are held by publishers who charge exorbitant prices.  We want to make this history available for future studies.

As a society, we learned a new way to learn. How we learn and educate defines a civilization. The chronicles of the era from 1960-1990 need to be perused and studied so we can understand how we adapt and how technology affects that adaptation.


We thank you for your help.



Catalog Challenge – March 2014

The catalog: the main event for researchers where every artifact will be available and searchable after it has been scanned.

As the HCLE Virtual Museum develops, we’ll provide glimpses of the catalog because researchers may not want to wait. (Classes are already being taught based on the items scanned and stored by Stanford Digital Repositories.) The catalog may not be the most heavily visited page, but it may be the most valuable.


Here’s one of HCLE’s challenges, as viewed by Founder and Vision Keeper, Liza Loop. HCLE has a collection of physical items – books, papers, letters, videos, audios, software on all media, program listings, course syllabi, etc. Most of this “stuff” is on paper. IMG_2043 There are probably at least 10,000 items and the collection will grow from there. The physical paper needs to be scanned to create digital images readable online. The digital items need to be uploaded from their resident devices into a common format. In addition we have hundreds of web links to digital items. Then, both physical and digital items need to be cataloged.

We also need constituency relationship management software (CRM) to keep track of members, donors, potential funders, authors, staff, volunteers — all the people and institutions that are related to a museum, or library, or archive. For HCLE, it is possible for a person designated an educational pioneer to also be a contributor of various artifacts, and to be a volunteer and financial donor. The list will probably start with about 3,000 entries and grow.

We want to relate the information about the people with the items catalog without having to double enter any of the data. For example, the volunteer who enters a piece of software into the catalog should have a record in the CRM and an identifying field (element) in the catalog. What are the best (easiest) open source tools to use for this?

Digital Resource Locators

As our collection grows more of our digital items are being hosted online by other institutions, e.g. Stanford University Libraries Special Collections and Internet Archive, and not by HCLE itself. To make these items show up on a museum visitor’s screen requires each one to have its own internet address. There are several competing methods for identifying online resources and HCLE is working on choosing which one to use. Which scheme best handles link decay?

HCLE Tools

So far we’ve explored MS Access, MySQL, Omeka and we want to look at CiviCRM. One of our volunteer consultants suggested that we should think of the task as implementing CiviCRM and extending it to include the catalog. We prefer to have the catalog be a single, simple, flat table rather than a complicated relational structure. We don’t have sufficient experience in-house, so we’re open to advice and expect to depend on volunteers or raise the money for paid consultants.


We have the beginnings of a Catalog development team. Click here if you’d like to follow along with the team’s conversation. Send an email to Liza@hcle.org if you would like to join the team.

Stay tuned.

Mostly written by Liza Loop, with a few edits by Tom Trimbath