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Archives and Special Collections on COBOL and the History of Programming Languages

This list describes archival collections related to the development of COBOL, specifically, and the History of Programming Languages.

Introduction

This list describes archival collections related to the history of programming languages and, specifically, the history of the COBOL programming language. This Libguide is a collection of personal papers, conference proceedings, interviews, and journal articles that offer a general, comprehensive overview of the history of programming with a focus on COBOL and CODASYL. These sources will be able to provide a thorough understanding of the development of programming languages and how CODASYL, or the Conference/Committee on Data Systems Languages, contributed to this development. This list will include numerous sources about COBOL and its applications from both the past and present. Sources from creators of COBOL are also included. Along with COBOL, there are sources on other major programming languages such as FORTRAN and Pascal, even more information on these languages will be added in the future.

The Archives and Special Collections department of the University of Minnesota Libraries is located in the Elmer L. Andersen Library on the West Bank of campus; these collections are open to the public and can be viewed, by appointment, in the reading room. For more information about visiting the Elmer L. Andersen Library, or to search other archival collections, visit lib.umn.edu/special. Please explore the links below for further contact information for various collections.

History of COBOL (Archives)

The Burroughs B 5000 Conference
Conference papers about COBOL and other programming languages.
Galler, Rosin, Galler, Bernard A., and Rosin, Robert F. Burroughs B 5000 Conference, 1985 Sept. 6., 1985.

Oral History Interview with Leroy Guck
Interview with someone involved with COBOL.
Guck, LeRoy R. “Oral History Interview with Leroy R. Guck.” 1987.

Oral History Interview with Richard Vincent
Interview with someone involved with the development of COBOL.
Vincent, Richard, and Craig Solomonson. Oral History Interview with Richard Vincent, 1983 Mar. 8., 1983.

Correspondence re: IBM/AUTOFLOW, 1966-1968. 
Letters on the IBM potential monopoly.
Applied Data Research, Software Products Division Records (CBI 154), Charles Babbage Institute, Charles Babbage Institute. https://archives.lib.umn.edu/repositories/3/resources/272 Accessed September 17, 2020

United States National Bureau of Standards collection of computer literature
National Bureau of Standards files on COBOL.
United States National Bureau of Standards, Computer Literature Collection (CBI 32), Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. https://archives.lib.umn.edu/repositories/3/resources/38 Accessed September 17, 2020. 

Basic COBOL Programming: Student Text
Student manual for learning and understanding COBOL.
Fort Benjamin Harrison . Computer Science School. Software Department, and United States Army Institute of Personnel & Resource Management. Basic COBOL Programming : Student Text, 1984.

Information and Software Technologies: 23rd International Conference, ICIST 2017, Druskininkai, Lithuania, October 12-14, 2017, Proceedings
Conference proceedings from an international conference dealing with COBOL and other programming languages. 
Damasevičius, Robertas, and Mikasytė, Vilma. Information and Software Technologies. Vol. 756, Springer International Publishing AG, 2017.

Common business oriented language (COBOL) committee, 1959-1988
Proceedings from a committee meeting about the uses and future of COBOL
Common business oriented language (COBOL) committee, 1959-1988. Conference on Data Systems Languages records, CBI 11. Charles Babbage Institute Archives. https://archives.lib.umn.edu/repositories/3/archival_objects/13871 Accessed September 17, 2020. 

Jerome Garfunkel Papers
Papers from Jerome Garfunkel, a member of COBOL programming language groups and an influential computer.
Jerome Garfunkel Papers (CBI 71), Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. https://archives.lib.umn.edu/repositories/3/resources/65 Accessed September 17, 2020.

Extracting Business Rules from COBOL: A Model-Based Tool
Conference Proceedings on how to use COBOL in a business setting.
Cosentino, Valerio, et al. “Extracting Business Rules from COBOL: A Model-Based Tool.” 2013, pp. 483–484.

Basic Elements of COBOL 61
Jean Sammet's assessment of COBOL and how it functions. 
Sammet, Jean. “Basic Elements of COBOL 61.” Communications of the ACM, vol. 5, no. 5, 1962, pp. 237–253.

Oral History Interview with Lyle Bowden and Tony Blackmore
An interview with two programmers, mentions the CDC and COBOL. 
Bowden, Lyle, and Blackmore, Tony. “Oral History Interview with Lyle Bowden and Tony Blackmore.” 2013.

Department of Commerce 
A journal article from a conference with the Department of Commerce and other groups to discuss COBOL.
"Department of Commerce." Issue: A Journal of Opinion 8, no. 2/3 (1978): 5-6. Accessed July 22, 2020. DOI:10.2307/1166653.

History of Programming Conference Proceedings
Conference proceedings from a HOPL conference, COBOL is discussed.
History of Programming Languages Conference Records (CBI 19), Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. https://archives.lib.umn.edu/repositories/3/resources/18 Accessed July 26, 2020.

Transaction Workload Evaluation in the Codasyl Database
Codasyl conference proceedings on COBOL.
Orlando, Salvatore, Pasquale Rullo, and Witold Staniszkis. “Transaction Workload Evaluation in the Codasyl Database Environment,” 562–69, 1984. 

Codasyl conference on COBOL.
Conference proceedings on COBOL, specifications for COBOL.
Conference on Data Systems Languages, and United States. Department of Defense. COBOL - 1961 Extended : Extended Specifications for a Common Business Oriented Language, 1962.

The Early History of COBOL
An article from Jean Sammet on the history of COBOL and its development.
Sammet, Jean. "The Early History of COBOL." ACM SIGPLAN Notices 13, no. 8 (1978): 121-61.

COBOL - 1961 Extended: Extended Specifications for a Common Business Oriented Language
Conference proceedings that set out COBOL rules and specifications
Conference on Data Systems Languages, and United States. Department of Defense. COBOL - 1961 Extended : Extended Specifications for a Common Business Oriented Language, 1962.

General History of Programming Languages (Archives)

A History of the History of Programming Languages
Book on the history of programming languages
Bergin, Thomas. "A History of the History of Programming Languages." Communications of the ACM 50, no. 5 (2007): 69-74.

Census Standardizes Surveys
Article on programming languages in relation to the census during 1999.
Daukantas, Patricia. "Census Standardizes Surveys." Government Computer News 18, no. 30 (1999): 36.

Modern Fortran in Practice
Book on Fortran and its application in the early 2000s.
Markus, Michael., Arjen. Metcalf, and Metcalf, Michael. Modern Fortran in Practice. ITPro. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

History of Programming Languages

Programming Languages for the Humanities
A journal article about how programming languages can be understood from a less technology-oriented way.
Raskin, Jeffrey F. "Programming Languages for the Humanities." Computers and the Humanities 5, no. 3 (1971): 155-58.

MN Computing History Timeline
A timeline about the general history of computing.
“General Timeline.” Minnesota Computing History, mncomputinghistory.com/timelines/general/.

Interview with Alan Kay
An interview with Alan Kay about his influence on computing.
Ebert, Achim, and Gershon, Nahum D. "Interview with Alan Kay." KI. Künstliche Intelligenz (Oldenbourg) 26, no. 2 (2012): 187-89.

Alan Kay: Transforming the Computer into a Communication Medium
An article about Alan Kay's influence on computing and the purpose of computers.
Barnes, Susan B. "Alan Kay: Transforming the Computer into a Communication Medium." IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 29, no. 2 (2007): 18-30.

5 Programming and Programming Languages
A book chapter about programming languages and their history.
Kernighan, Brian W. “5 Programming and Programming Languages.” In Understanding the Digital World: What You Need to Know about Computers, the Internet, Privacy, and Security, 67–86, 2017.

The Role of Programming Language in Estimating Software Development Costs
Article about how Programming languages can be used to imagine costs in a business sense.
Harrison, Warren, and Adrangi, Bahram. "The Role of Programming Language in Estimating Software Development Costs." Journal of Management Information Systems 3, no. 3 (1986): 101-10.

A Brief History of Computing
A book that gives a general overview of computing's history.
O'Regan, Gerard. A Brief History of Computing. 2nd Ed. 2012 ed. London: Springer London, Limited, 2012.

When Technology Became Language
Article on the history of programming languages in the mid-twentieth century.
Nofre, David, Mark Priestley, and Gerard Alberts. “When Technology Became Language: The Origins of the Linguistic Conception of Computer Programming, 1950–1960.” Technology and Culture 55, no. 1 (2014): 40–75.

Software Development Practices, Software Complexity, and Software Maintenance Performance: A Field Study
Article on how programming language development and software development are done.
Banker, RD, GB Davis, and SA Slaughter. “Software Development Practices, Software Complexity, and Software Maintenance Performance: A Field Study.” MANAGEMENT SCIENCE 44, no. 4 (April 1998): 433–50.

History of COBOL

The Real Creators of COBOL
An article from Jean Sammet, an important figure of COBOL, about the creators of the language.
Sammet, J.E. “The Real Creators of Cobol.” IEEE 17, no. 2 (April 2000): 30–32.


Desperate Need for COBOL Programmers During COVID-19 Underlines Importance of Workforce Planning
An article about the need for COBOL Programmers during the pandemic and how it reveals lack of planning.
“Desperate Need for COBOL Programmers During COVID-19 Underlines Importance of Workforce Planning.” Society for Human Resource Management, April 9, 2020.

Common Language
Journal article about COBOL and other Business programming languages and how they are understood.
Allen, Ben. "Common Language: Business Programming Languages and the Legibility of Programming." IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 40, no. 2 (2018): 17-31.

Bottom-Up and Top-Down COBOL System Migration to Web Service
A Journal Article about switching away from COBOL and the costs associated with the process. 
Rodriguez, J. M, Crasso, M, Mateos, C, Zunino, A, and Campo, M. "Bottom-Up and Top-Down Cobol System Migration to Web Services." IEEE Internet Computing 17, no. 2 (2013): 44-51.

A Demand-driven Approach to Slicing Legacy COBOL Systems
Journal Article explaining how labor-intensive the upkeep of COBOL is.
Hajnal, Ákos, and Forgács, István. "A Demand‐driven Approach to Slicing Legacy COBOL Systems." Journal of Software : Evolution and Process 24, no. 1 (2012): 67-82.

Migrating from COBOL to Java
Proceedings Paper on switching from COBOL to Java.
Sneed, H. M. "Migrating from COBOL to Java." 2010, 1-7.

Case Studies of System Architectures That Use COBOL Assets
Case study of COBOL systems in Japan.
Okishima, H. “Case Studies of System Architectures That Use COBOL Assets.” FUJITSU SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL JOURNAL 42, no. 3 (2006): 414–21.

COBOL Coders Needed for Coronavirus Fight
Article on the importance of COBOL programmers during the pandemic
Blyler, John. “COBOL Coders Needed for Coronavirus Fight.” Design News, April 23, 2020. 

COBOL, a 60-Year-Old Computer Language, Is in the COVID-19 Spotlight
Article on the role of COBOL during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is becoming relevant again.
Sullivan, Mark. “COBOL, a 60-Year-Old Computer Language, Is in the COVID-19 Spotlight.” Fast Company, April 10, 2020.

FairCom Offers Free COBOL Modernization to Government Entities
Article on potential solutions to unemployment problems linked to COBOL.
"FairCom Offers Free COBOL Modernization to Government Entities." PR Newswire, 2020.

NJ Unemployment Hits Record 15 Percent
Article on the unemployment problems in New Jersey due to the pandemic and how the unemployment portals are struggling
Daniel J. Munoz. "NJ Unemployment Hits Record 15 Percent." NJ Biz, 2020.

Cobol: A Historic Past, A Vital Future?
Journal article about the history of COBOL and its potential future
Glass, R.L. “Cobol: A Historic Past, a Vital Future?” IEEE Software 16, no. 4 (August 1999). 

The Case for Continued COBOL Education
Article about why COBOL should still be taught today and how it exists in our society.
Carr, D., and R.J. Kizior. “The Case for Continued Cobol Education.” IEEE 17, no. 2 (April 2000): 33–36. 

COBOL for the Next Millennium
An Article that predicted what COBOL would be like in the twenty-first century.
Schricker, D. “Cobol for the next Millennium.” IEEE 17, no. 2 (April 2000): 48–52. 

COBOL Tools: Overview and Taxonomy
Article on the an overview of COBOL and how to use it.
Arranga, E.C. “Cobol Tools: Overview and Taxonomy.” IEEE 17, no. 2 (April 2000): 59–69. 

COBOL: Is it Dying or Thriving?
Article about the status of COBOL in 1997.
Glass, Robert L. “COBOL: Is It Dying or Thriving?” The Journal of Systems and Softwares 39, no. 3 (1997): 197–99.

On the Readability of COBOL Manuals
Article about COBOL manuals and their effectiveness.
Lemos, Ronald S. “On the Readability of COBOL Manuals.” International Journal of Man-Machine Studies 19, no. 4 (1983): 377–89.

The 1978 CODASYL COBOL Language Specifications
Article from a conference on COBOL and how the language should be written.
"The 1978 CODASYL COBOL Language Specifications." Software, Practice & Experience 10, no. 7 (1980): 589-90.