The Charles Babbage Institute (CBI) is the world’s leading research center dedicated to the history of information technology. Founded in California as the International Charles Babbage Society, CBI came to the University of Minnesota in 1980. It is a research center and archive embedded in the University’s College of Science & Engineering and the University Libraries. Since 2000, CBI has been in Andersen Library with state-of-the-art climate controlled archival storage. Its mission is to build an infrastructure for computer history through conducting and publishing original research; collecting, preserving, and disseminating unique archival records and print material; conducting oral history interviews; and sponsoring public outreach activities. All members of the public may use CBI collections free of charge. Support from the CBI Friends financially sustains these ‘core’ activities. CBI staff also actively seek externally funded projects.
CBI’s archival collections and print materials are used by researchers from around the world. In addition to the records of computer scientists, industrial organizations, and professional associations, it includes more than 100,000 images and interviews with over 300 computer pioneers. CBI has led the development of archival methods in the field, publishing the results of national surveys and methodological research. It is also investigating methods of creating and archiving electronic records. CBI historical materials are used by practitioners, business historians, historians of science and technology, journalists, attorneys, and all students of the information age.
Through a separately endowed fund, CBI awards the Adelle and Erwin Tomash Fellowship in the History of Information Technology to advanced Ph.D. students in computing history. Recipients of the fellowship are leaders in the history of computing. The Arthur Norberg Travel Fund also supports in-person visitations to CBI by researchers from across the country and around the world.
CBI has published a collection of rare monographs that help document the history of information technology. CBI also web-publishes a number of reports, catalogues, bibliographies, monographs, and journals. The CBI Newsletter publicizes current activities in the field. CBI’s associate director, Jeffrey Yost, is Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Annals of the History of Computing (2008-2011).
You can join others in supporting CBI activities by enrolling in one of the categories listed below. Your contribution is a charitable deduction in the United States, and your firm may match it. Please renew your membership each year or join our Friends today.
Friends at all levels receive a discount on titles in the CBI Reprint series as well as an annual gift of a recently published book or other scholarly work from CBI staff or our CBI Tomash fellows.
The Charles Babbage Institute
211 Andersen Library
University of Minnesota
222 - 21st Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455