Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Jul 10

Historical Findings in the Digital Age

Posted on July 10, 2015 at 3:14 PM by Elise Kelly

 The Digital Age
During the past 30 years our world has shifted monumentally from the competitive Industrial Era to a cooperative Digital Age. This shift has occurred on both macro and micro levels.
CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) Tape Library

On a macro level, high-tech and digitally
dependable global economies have transformed manufacturing. The plus side of this is higher productivity while the negative side is the loss of jobs. 

In the realm of archives and libraries, these institutions have expanded with digital imaging and digital storage. However, as technology progresses, they are facing challenges to utilize and access older technological mechanisms. These older mechanisms are becoming obsolete.  dfde
6-axis Welding Robot
Micro Level
This past week at the Greene County Archives, we received a phone call from one of the county departments asking us to look at some items they found in their storage facility. We brought the items back to the archives to "examine." We broke open the lock of the case that stored them and honestly.... we really had no idea what we were looking at.

Thankfully, because of the "Information Age," we were able to utilize the power of the internet and determined that these were "CDC Control Data Cartridges." (See Below)

                                       Control Data Cartridges

                                                 Inside the Cartridge

CDC Control Data Cartridges
Control Data 9448 Cartridge Module Drive
So what exactly is a CDC Control Data Cartridge? In layman's terms, they are early external hard drives.

Back in 1981, Greene County Departments used the cartridges to backup their electronic data. The cartridges stored a lot more information than the floppy disc. In order to view the records they had to be inserted in a Cartridge Module Drive.

For all you tech enthusiasts - check out the capabilities on this bad boy (see below). This very model is actually going for $99.95 on ebay!

My colleagues and I began to wonder - what was the storage space for one of these cartridges? It turns out it has a mere 16 megabyte capacity. That would not even hold a single photograph today! However, you have to think back to 1981. Information Technology was just beginning to take off by the early 1980s, so this was pretty advanced for the time period.

 sdfs Greene County no longer has the module drive to view these cartridges.

Following our Records Center Guidelines, we are going to destroy the cartridges. However, we are also an archives, so we will keep one cartridge for historical purposes.

Just think of the person who saved the very first Mac Computer that was built. These early digital mechanisms can teach future generations about the enormous evolution of the Digital Age.

The Greene County Archives stores and preserves county-wide department records that have significant importance and historical value. By preserving these records and having them microfilmed and digitized we are saving/securing our past.

Until Next Time!
This Week's Trivia Question: Living in the Digital Age of today, what has replaced the classroom chalkboard?
Last Week's Trivia Answer: Which city hosts the largest 4th of July fireworks display? - New York City.


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