Thank you again to Information Systems specialist John Baskette

Dear John:

Thank you for all the help you have been to me by questioning and probing me about all  the projects that I wanted to “computerize”.  I took a college demography (study of population) course in the 1960s for which one of the laboratory sessions was training to use an electromechanical desk-top calculating machine.  Most people on campus had to fill out coding sheets to be read by keypunchers of tabulating cards.  I wrote a summer, 1967 story for a college newspaper about the forthcoming arrival of hard-wired teletype terminals using the Dartmouth Time Sharing System.  It may have been at one of the first 4 other colleges to use the system. More details about the original system http://dtss.dartmouth.edu/sciencearticle/pages/page01.html   .   Computers and electronic calculators were not part of my daily life in high school and college, even after they seemed to be everywhere.

The biggest problem was creating a low cost database of publications that would be withdrawn from a library collection.  (The situation reminds me of a restaurant where each plate is served with a piece of watercress.   Most people do not eat the piece, and it is discarded when plates are returned for cleaning.

Inventory control and auditing requires require each publication to be accounted for, offered to other libraries, and reported as withdrawn in a database.  Each data entry line in the database seemed to be as valuable as a piece of restaurant watercress.

I never had to create a database or a spreadsheet before.  You had to explain the functions, advantages, and disadvantages of using both types of information.  The next challenge was finding computer files with the data elements that  non-copyrighted, in the public domain, FREE, or available for non-commercial use.

You explored ways to convert data files created for one purpose to our inventory project.  Thanks to your questions, explanations, and tutoring, I found a source.  It may not have all the lines of data that we need, but now our project is limited to filling in the missing rows of data.

Thank you again for working on my Agent Orange herbicide and Vietnam veterans project.  Identification and location of ships not in the Department of Veterans Affairs list of ships  in riverine waters could help many veterans qualify for compensation.

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