26 Pages


Roberto Busa, S.J. and the Emergence of Humanities Computing

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on Roberto Busa's and Paul Tasman's collaborative attempt starting in the late 1950s to apply their punched-card indexing methods to the texts of the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls. It discusses the story of Father Busa's legendary first meeting with Thomas J. Watson, Sr., CEO of IBM. The book also discusses the major humanities computing demonstration, held by Father Busa and Paul Tasman at IBM World Headquarters in June 1952 before an invited audience of academics from a number of institutions and multiple disciplines, as well as representatives from scholarly societies, IBM, and the Church. It explores the theme of networking, the social and institutional support for Busa's founding of the first Literary Data Processing Center in Gallarate, Italy: CAAL or Centro per L'Automazione dell'Analisi Letteraria, in 1956.