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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Early computers and national security

Yesterday's New York Times carried an obituary for Henriette D. Avram, whose career exemplifies both the role of national security in the genesis of the American computer industry and the spill-over effects from that early collaboration. After studying mathematics in the early 1950s at GW while her husband worked for the National Security Agency, she, too, "went to work for the N.S.A., where she learned computer programming." After a hiatus at a software company, she moved to the Library of Congress in the mid-1960s, where she led the project that produced Machine Readable Cataloging, or Marc. In the 1970s, Marc became the national, and then the international standard for electronic library catalogs. It remains the basis for the newest iteration, Marc 21.
Margalit Fox, "Henriette D. Avram, Modernizer of Libraries, Dies at 86," New York Times, 3 May 2006, C15.

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