Continuing the library system geekery - I now have this. "BLCMP: A guide for librarians and systems managers" by Peter Stubley.

Fitting that a book about library computer systems is an ex library book.

If you hadn't noticed - university of Birmingham was one of the initial BLCMP consortium members, and that BU barcode is a BLCMP book identification barcode. It looks like an interleaved 2-of-5 code to me, but could be Plessey.

BLCMP's start was with BOSS. An IBM 4341 with 8MB (do they mean MHz?) CPU, 6 channels and 11.25GB disk. Nice photo of the machine room.

The network was pretty simple. Big iron IBM, a bunch of Data General MVs running as satellite machines. That explains the DG terminals. BOSS stands for BLCMP Online Support Service.


"Please search catboss on logon" sounds like trying to find @homphs

Yeah BOSS definitely wasn't meant for mere mortals. MARC output, ballsy.

Oh cool. The data is layered. You have the BLCMP database record, then there's a local record which is held on the satellite computer. The local record overlays the main one.

That means the local shelfmark can be easily added, but updates on the general record (say, correcting a typo) would cascade down. Nifty.

The BLS main menu! That looks familiar. One of the librarians invited me behind the desk (I was 8 or 9) and showed me how this worked. Young me was in awe.

Chapter 3 goes into a lot of detail about BLS and the Data General system - starting on Eclipse and Nova, then moving to MV. The VAX 780 gets a brief mention in the sense DG were taking market share.

Interesting that BLCMP were looking at the future even in 1989. Rewrite in Fortran 77, expecting to move to Unix in the next five years (so, 1993). That'd be Talis.

correction: "Please search catboss on logon" sounds like trying to find @kieran

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