Brown CS News

Last update on .

The Brown CS Digital Archive Grows To More Than 100 Items

by Rujul Singh

Click the link that follows for more news about the Brown CS Digital Archive.

From the IBM punch cards of the 1960’s to the machine learning labs of today, Brown University's Department of Computer Science has undergone decades of transformational change since its founding. The Brown CS Digital Archive (BCSDA) is a crowdsourced effort to preserve this history, curating items from faculty, staff, students, and alums that have contributed to Brown CS and preserving them permanently online, where they're accessible by all.

Started just a few months ago, the BCSDA has grown rapidly, with over 100 artifacts submitted to date. Ranging from handouts for the original Applied Math 101-102 computer science sequence to photos of the Brown University IBM System/360 model 67 (the main campus computing facility from 1970 to 1976), the archive encompasses a broad variety of photos, audio, PDFs, and even code that attempts to capture the story of Brown CS.

What’s contributed to the success of the archive? The efforts of Brown alums have surely played a huge role. Paul Anagnostopoulos ‘74 (thanks to alphabetical order, he was Brown's first undergraduate to receive a pure CS degree instead of a degree in Applied Mathematics with a concentration in CS) has been the top contributor to the archive, with over 80 items submitted. “I’ve coordinated many of our class reunions,” he explains, “and it really is a group effort to provide these things.” But with the archives at such an early stage, more submissions are needed to fully achieve the goals of the archive. “We need more artifacts from the 80s and 90s, the more obscure the better,” he laughs.

As participation increases, each new asset adds color and a bit of insight into the community that is Brown CS. “We're in the technology business and the change in technology is fascinating,” says Paul. “Remembering people is important. Everybody enjoyed what they were doing. People need to know what they did, and what projects they worked on.”

If you have something that you’d like to contribute to the archive, submitting an item is easy:

  1. Go to cs.brown.edu/archive/submit. You’ll need to be logged in to the Brown CS site, but there's a link to get help if you've forgotten your ID or password.

  2. Write a title and description for your item and choose the year it dates from.

  3. Choose metadata tags. For example, you might choose 2017, Barbara Meier, Faculty, Undergraduate Students, and Graphics and Visualization when submitting Toymaker, a recent animated short.

  4. Upload your item.

For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus.