35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Cyber Brief: Digital Computer Newsletter - 1949-1968

Published: Oct 19, 2018

Edited by Rosemary Tropeano

For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

From 1949 until the late 1960s the Office of Naval Research (ONR) published the Digital Computer Newsletter to “provide a medium for the interchange among interested persons of information concerning recent developments in various digital computer products.” The newsletter initially focused primarily on technical developments for computers, providing short updates on design, construction, testing, and usage of various computers in the U.S. Over time the newsletter changed in function, serving as a news bulletin for computer conferences and classes; providing a list of and later updates on the functions of computer and data processing centers; providing updates on specific computer components; and a-gradually increasing the focus on uses for computers beyond mathematical calculations. The newsletter accepted contributions from its readers, including from those outside the Navy. ONR made the newsletter available to interested military and government agencies and contractors. It was also reprinted by the Association for Computer Machinery from 1954 until 1960 for wider distribution.

This collection, one of several featuring documents predating our conception of "cyber", was compiled using the Defense Technical Information Center database of Department of Defense documents. These collections are useful resources for researching the broader evolutionary sweep of computer and information technology.