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« Four views on singularities | Main | History Quiz: Part Two »

History Quiz: the Answer Key

I know everyone has been anxiously waiting for the answers to the library/technology quiz. Here you are:

The are library catalog cards and one created them using a device called a typewriter. Sort of like a word processor without the spell check and only one font. 

When filing catalog cards in the card catalog, the librarian placed them on top of the rod that holds them in the drawer. A second librarian or para would then double-check the filing order to make sure it was correct and then drop the cards, running the catalog rod through the holes in each paper card. While most of us librarians are perfect, we are also a little anal retentive.

The red Readers' Guide was abridged version of the guide; the green Readers' Guide was unabridged. (Or maybe it was the other way around.) 

That lovely squeal is a modem making a dial-up network connection. Sounded like a 14.4 baud to me.

The vertical file was for newspaper cuttings, pamphlets, maps, brochures, programs, and other small printed materials that were often local and/or ephemeral in nature. I never saw one actually used by a real person.

OK, this may be a trick question. Somebody told me there is a product called Smart Chalk. 

This is a C prompt on DOS (pre-Windows) computers. I believe the C stands for Command - as in Command line. Or Cry, Complain, Confused...

True. Which is a sad statement about how much progress has been made in educational technology in the past 30 years.

This is an all-purpose card sorter (according to Brodart which still sells it). It helps alphabetize checkout cards, but also made a wonderfully loud smacking noise when brought down with force on the top of the circulation desk. I suppose Fifty Shades of Grey fans could find other uses for it as well.

Inhale the marvelous aroma - and what ever mood altering chemicals it contained. Sniffing mimeograph copies was the only thing that got me through my first year of teaching.

This device punched a notch in the right side of a 5 1/4 floppy diskette so that the back side could be used to store data and programs as well as the front side. Poor people used a regular paper punch but the notch was tacky looking.

These were all pre-Google programs used for doing Internet searches. Gopher was developed at the University of Minnesota - home of the Gopher school mascot. As another old fart who wrote in yesterday reminds us, Veronica stood for "Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computer Archives".

Now you know.

Send me other historical stumpers and I'll collect them and do another post someday. 

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Reader Comments (6)

If you were using an IBM Selectric, you had more than one font ;)

July 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Hi Laura,

Yes, if you had enough balls.


July 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Actually, the C:\ indicated that your current location was the 'C' drive.
A PC, during startup, assigns letters to your storage devices. That much hasn't changed.
A&B were reserved for floppy drives, then it would start assigning letters in alphabetical order.
Most hard drives were assigned C: next would be D: (many CD-ROM drives got this one)
It was generally accepted that networked drives started at F, though if you had enough drives, you could run into that...

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Thanks, Josh. This makes sense. Wasn't there a C prompt before there were multiple drives in PCs though?


Josh responded:

Yep. When it was just floppies they just started alphabetically. Those guidelines came later once they started having different kinds of media...

July 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Thank you, for library arcana. (I miss those mimeographed sheets.)

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWendy Larson

Make me wonder what things today's kids and young teachers will miss.


August 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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