Exploring the Transition From Batch to Online: Datamation as Source of Evidence

Anker Helms Jørgensen

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The transition from using computers in batch mode with punch cards, paper tape, piles of print, and lengthy response times to online mode by way of the video display terminal took place in most organizations in the 1970s and 1980s. The video display terminal was a significant forerunner of the truly interactive use of computers known today. The transition invoked changes in a number of areas: technological, such as hybrid forms between batch and online; organisational such as decentralization; and personal as users and developers alike had to adopt new technology, shape new organizational structures, and acquire new skills. This work-in-progress paper extends an earlier study of the transition from batch to online, based on oral history interviews with (ex)-employees in two large Danish Service Bureaus. The paper takes the next step by ana-lyzing a particular genre: the commercial computer magazine Datamation from 1971 to 1987. The paper uses the dominating IBM 3270 display terminal and IBM 3270 pc as archetypes. The paper aims at uncovering further facets of the transition from batch to online and its context that will eventually form the basis for telling a wider history of the transition.
Original languageDanish
Title of host publicationProc. DHRS2010: 10th Danish Human-Computer Interaction Research Symposium
Number of pages4
Place of PublicationRUC
PublisherRoskilde Universitetsforlag
Publication date2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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