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Google c. 1964

 
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject: Google c. 1964 Reply with quote

I was Kindling an ebook the other day, Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings: A Life in Construction, by Samuel C. Florman.

Its a business autobiography about Florman's career. At one point it had an odd confluence for me, because his firm was involved in building the US Pavillion at the New York World's Fair. When I was 4 or 5 I was taken to the Fair in Flushing Meadows a couple of times and did not remember much, but afterward it was converted to large urban park and I would go there all the time. Eventually, as I entered the 6th grade, I ended up going on bicycle trips around Queens and Long Island with my friends and our "English Racer" bicycles, one of our favorite rides being to Flushing Meadows, not only because it had lots of carfree bike paths but because it was full of relics of the fair.

One of those relics was the aforementioned US Pavillion. It was crisp and Bauhausy. A open raised square on four concrete pedestals with a four way central staircase leading to an open atrium. The outer wall was covered in backlit green and blue fiberglass. Of course, by the time I was riding there, the "Challenge to Greatness" had been left to rot...the panels were all broken, and the interior courtyard was full of debris and graffitti. Entering it reminded me of a Star Trek episode. I fully expected (fantasized that) some tightly clad alien women would appear and take us down to the control room which the Old Ones left running before the Great War of Zenton Nine.

Reading my ebook made me curious to go back and Google some info on the US Pavillion and while doing so I came across an exhibit from the American Library Association. They had on display an information retrieval system, based on the Univac 490 "real time" system. In 1959 a Univac had correctly predicted the results on election night. And real time, versus IBM's card punch system was a big innovation.

According to the original brochure:

http://www.worldsfairphotos.com/nywf64/booklets/challenge-to-greatness.pdf

Quote:
AN IMPORTANT FEATURE OF THE UNIVAC 490 REAL-TIME COMPUTER IS ITS ABILITY TO CONCURRENTLY PROCESS SEPARATE REQUESTS INITIATED FROM DIFFERENT REMOTE POINTS AT THE SAME TIME. THIS FEATURE COMBINED WITH THE COMPUTER'S HIGH SPEED, MEASURED IN MILLIONTHS OF A SECOND, ALLOWS THE LIBRARIAN AT LIBRARY/U.S.A. TO RESPOND TO YOUR REQUEST EFFICIENTLY AND INDEPENDENTLY OF ALL OTHER INQUIRIES.

INFORMATION ON 75 DIFFERENT TOPICS TREATED IN THE U.S. PAVILION EXHIBITS IS STORED IN THE COMPUTER'S FASTRAND MEMORY. YOU MAY ASK FOR INFORMATION OF THREE DIFFERENT KINDS:

ESSAYS. ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA EDITORS WROTE ORIGINAL ESSAYS FOR ADULTS AND FOR CHILDREN. THE ADULT ESSAYS WERE THEN TRANSLATED INTO GERMAN, FRENCH AND SPANISH.
READING LISTS. TO SUPPLEMENT THE ESSAYS, TWENTY DIFFERENT LIBRARIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY PREPARED LISTS OF BOOKS AT FIVE LEVELS. TITLES OF BOOKS WERE CAREFULLY SELECTED AND ARE PROBABLY AVAILABLE IN YOUR HOME TOWN LIBRARY.

MAGAZINE ARTICLES. THROUGH THE COURTESY OF THE H.W. WILSON COMPANY, A CURRENT INDEX TO SELECTED ARTICLES FROM 18 POPULAR MAGAZINES IS STORED IN THE COMPUTER. NEW ARTICLES ARE ENTERED INTO THE MACHINE REGULARLY SO THAT THE COMPUTER'S MEMORY ALWAYS HAS THE MOST UP TO DATE LISTINGS OF ARTICLES RELATED TO THE VARIOUS U.S. PAVILION EXHIBITS. THROUGH THE UNISET, THE LIBRARIAN MAY REQUEST LISTS OF ARTICLES IN COMBINATION TO SUIT YOUR INTERESTS.



Going to a terminal (Uniset) and looking up online information from libraries around the country.

In 1964.

I'm so glad I "Univac-ed" that!
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