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Pigeon Hole Unit - CSIRAC Computer, Program Preparation Area, Paper Tape Library, 1955-1964 Object Reg. No: HT 21986

Upright open-fronted timber unit with 96 compartments (or pigeon holes) for storing CSIRAC computer paper tapes, 66 of the holes are filled with labelled (mostly numbered) cardboard boxes in which the tapes were stored. The boxes are filed in order in the compartments. Most library programs were sub-routines, which were incorporated into programs, perhaps with one or more other sub-routines. All the paper tapes in the library were 12 hole.

The timber storage unit was an integral part of CSIRAC's off-line program preparation area.

Paper tape programs and sub-routines could only be stored as part of the library if they had been tested and registered as an official library tape. A genuine library tape was identified by printing an extra line of holes, which were not read by a paper tape reader. once a paper tape program or rourtine was in the library, a user would know that they worked without error and so did not have to be tested. The paper tape punch, associated with the proram preparation area, would be able to punch out the extra line of holes; the line was located between the X and Y lines of holes. It is possible that there would be a switch on the punch, which would be thrown when the identifying lines were required to be punched.

The pigeon holes were also used, as a matter of convenience only, for storing boxes of paper tape programs, which were not part of the Library. An example of this is the box labelled 'Demonstration Programs' (HT 21986.56).
Open fronted timber box with 12 compartments across and 8 compartments down. The outside is varnished.
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 685 mm (Height), 1010 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: csirac computer, office furniture, making history - csirac
Themes this item is part of: The significance of the CSIRAC Software Library, The CSIRAC Program Library, The significance of CSIRAC, 1949 - 1964, CSIRAC - Input & Output Devices, History of CSIRAC - the first computer in Australia, 1949-1964, CSIRAC Paper Tape Library Collection, Information & Communication Collection, CSIRAC Collection
Primary Classification: COMPUTING & CALCULATING
Secondary Classification: Digital Computing
Tertiary Classification: editing equipment
User: University of Melbourne (The), Parkville, Victoria, Australia, 1955-1964

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