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The Microcard: Fremont Rider's Precomputer Revolution

Martin Jamison
Libraries & Culture
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Winter, 1988), pp. 1-17
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25542007
Page Count: 17
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The Microcard: Fremont Rider's Precomputer Revolution
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Abstract

Fremont Rider (1885-1962) invented the microcard, an opaque microform, in the early 1940s. He designed the microcard to serve as both catalog card and storage medium, and thereby to save shelf space in rapidly growing library collections. Although other microforms had become common in research libraries, the unusual nature of the microcard generated abundant comment and criticism from librarians. In actual production and use, microcards differed from Rider's original conception. They became a well-known form of microreproduction in the 1950s, but microfiche appeared in the 1960s and supplanted microcards as the standard flat sheet microform. As media of information storage and retrieval, microcards and other microforms share characteristics with computerized systems. When computers were initially applied to library and information processes, effective computer-microform combinations were developed. The microcard collections that remain in research libraries now serve as repositories of older works.

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