|Monty Hyams (1918-2013): Patent Information Pioneer||home||intro||derwent||personal||downloads||links|
Motivation to be an early online adopter (1976)
DWPI was online by the start of 1976, with the SDC service, and would have been so earlier still, but for a false start with Tymeshare and Infoline. This made Derwent one of the first participants in the online era which preceded the Internet/World Wide Web.
During a 1980 address to the U.S. Information Industry Association, Monty explained how technological obsolescence combined with an overload of accumulated data motivated this early adoption.
"In the early 1960s, Derwent Publications, along with other secondary information publishers, based their production procedures and retrieval products almost uniquely upon the special merits of the 80-column punched card. Today such cards are no longer being produced in any great quantity, and the machines for punching, verifying, interpreting and reproducing the cards are no longer being manufactured or serviced.
"In financial terms, this has meant that all of the money invested in programs and machinery for punch card operation has had to be written off and new procedures developed in their place. But more seriously -- what will our customers do with the millions of punch cards having abstracts printed on them collected from us during the past 15 years, or with the special programs which enable their computers to read tapes holding whole card images?
".......Nowhere is the technological rat race more expensive in terms of capital, manpower and nervous energy than in the field of computer technology…..Initially, to encourage and assist users, we produced program suites against which our magnetic tapes could be run on IBM 1400-series machines, whereupon the 360-series arrived and fresh programs had to be written. Eventually our standard programs became unusable, and apart from having to write their own programs, subscribers had to carry out expensive file inversion. Printing out of answers from serial files as a result of batch searching became very costly, our Ringdoc print files alone occupying five full tapes. No wonder therefore that we were persuaded into going online at such an early stage."