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Humanist Archives: July 17, 2020, 7:49 a.m. Humanist 34.170 - the role of the IBM System 360 & successors

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 170.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

        Date: 2020-07-16 12:20:10+00:00
        From: Henry Schaffer 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.168: the role of the IBM System 360 & successors?

There is an active listserv LINUX-390@vm.marist.edu which might be of some
help - although its content is much more on keeping the software working
than on the applications. Also two people who were very much involved in
the genesis of the 360 and moving on from there are Fred Brooks and Gene

I did a lot of computing on the 360 and later generations, but never
thought about the computer as relating to humanities, or other, computing.
It was the mechanism which carried out my instructions, and I was much more
concerned about the computer language(s) I used which made it easier/harder
to express my instructions. My humanities programs where primarily done in
SNOBOL/SPITBOL, and all I wanted was for the computer to do what it was
told - and I didn't care if the computer was made by IBM or CDC or ...

While I could have expressed my instructions in assembly or machine
language, that would have been more work - and at that level I'd have to be
aware of the details of the computer (its instruction set, number of
registers, configuration of registers, memory configuration, ...) but not
of the manufacturer.


On Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 2:04 AM Humanist  wrote:

>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 168.
>             Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                    Hosted by King's Digital Lab
>                        www.dhhumanist.org
>                 Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>         Date: 2020-07-15 16:46:43+00:00
>         From: Reg Harbeck  
>         Subject: Introductory email, Humanity and the IBM
> System/360-descended mainframe
> Hello, members of the Humanist listserv! I am honoured to join your
> excellent
> community.
> I became aware of this listserv in my research for my Master's thesis
> about the
> humanity of the IBM System/360-descended mainframe. It began with reading
> an
> article about Fr. Roberto Busa, and then buying a book about him by Prof.
> Steven
> E. Jones, "Roberto Busa, S. J., and the Emergence of Humanities
> Computing." That
> led me to buy two additional books about digital humanities: "Defining
> Digital
> Humanities: A Reader" and "A Companion to Digital Humanities." And they
> led me
> to this listserv, the archives of which I have been eagerly digging
> through to
> find references to IBM mainframes.
> Before I provide further context, let me cut to the chase with a request
> for
> your insights:
> I would greatly value any insights you can offer about the role of the IBM
> System/360 mainframe and its successors (running operating systems that
> include
> OS/360, VM, MVT, MVS, OS/390, z/OS and even VSE and TPF, and possibly Linux
> under VM or z/OS containers in more recent years) in the development of the
> digital humanities, and also about any contributions that humanities have
> had to
> the creation and ongoing development of that platform.
> Depending on any responses received, I can add more context about my
> personal
> and professional journey and thesis if requested.
> - Reg Harbeck
> Reg@Harbeck.ca
> +1.403.605.7986

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