ACM Opens Computing Literature Archive

May 30, 2022

The history of computers is fascinating. It starts thousands of years ago with some of history’s brilliant intellects, staggers, and then quickly advances in the twentieth century. We now have humanity’s collected knowledge in the palm of our hands…if the data or Wi-Fi connections work. The Association for Computing Machinery documented the invention of modern computing since 1947 and the organization opened an archive: ACM Digital Library. Associations Now explain why ACM opened its archives in, “‘The Way Things Were’: How The Association For Computing Machinery Is Opening The Doors To Its Archives.”

ACM wants people to realize how far the computing industry has gone and for its seventy-fifth anniversary is opening up its archives to the public. In the past, these records were locked behind a paywall and now they are free to the public. More than 117,500 articles from 1951-2000 are readable to the public. The archive is part of a greater ACM initiative:

“Vicki L. Hanson, the group’s CEO, noted that the ACM Digital Library initiative is part of a broader effort to make its archives available via open access by 2025. ‘Our goal is to have it open in a few years, but there’s very real costs associated with [the open-access work],’ Hanson said. ‘We have models so that we can pay for it. While the organization is still working through its open-access effort, it saw an opportunity to make its “backfile” of materials available, timed to the organization’s 75th anniversary.”

Hanson continued that opening the archive was not a big challenge, because ACM already had a system designed for public consumption. ACM wanted a creative way to announce the archive, so they used its seventy-fifth anniversary.

Organizations need to make money to support their research, but too much scientific information is kept behind paywalls. ACM’s move to share its research is a step more organizations should make.

Whitney Grace, May 30, 2022


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