May 2011 Features

Timeline: Digital at Bryn Mawr

Follow the College’s digital upgrade path via this timeline of important events.


Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges jointly own a third-generation computer with 128,000 bytes of core storage, along with approximately 15,000,000 bytes of random disk storage.


Faculty start using nine Teletype terminals and a high-speed remote batch terminal in Dalton basement, which connects to an IBM 370 model 165 at UPenn.


First minicomputer HP 3000 with disk drives as big as washing machines are installed in Dalton basement.


BMC connects to Haverford’s VAX 11/750 by BITnet, a network created by the Department of Defense. Says Ann Dixon ’83 (then assistant director of computer science), one of the first people to lay Ethernet wiring on campus: “A few of us did email for the first time, and it was amazing. None of us could have predicted that in the near future, everyone including our grandparents would be on email, nor that college students would come to think of email as passé.”


Bryn Mawr Classical Review, the second oldest online scholarly journal in the humanities, begins at BMC as a simple listserv program. (BMC was beaten by a matter of weeks by Postmodern Culture.)


The Tri-Co library catalog (Tripod)—with nearly one million items—goes online. By 1993, Tripod more than doubles the number of items available.


The first website on campus, Serendip, is founded by Dixon (see 1985 entry), Professor of Biology Paul Grobstein and Professor of Computer Science Deepak Kumar. Serendip now gets over 4 million unique visitors per year, and has 30,000 pages.


The College commits funding to ensure every faculty member has a computer. | Bryn Mawr is an initial test site for JSTOR, a project to digitize the most important journals in several fields. JSTOR now includes 250 major journals and more than 700,000 articles, reaching back into the 17th century.


Kimberly Blessing ’97 creates the first official College website. (See what it looked like via the Wayback Machine!)


Professor of History Elliott Shore takes over the College libraries and develops a system for the comprehensive delivery of electronic information services. Five years later, as Chief Information Officer, Shore unites seven departments to streamline information technology at the College.


Bryn Mawr pilots Blackboard, a software package that gives students 24/7 online access to syllabi, assignments, electronic reserve reading, and lecture notes for their courses.


  • The Alumnae Association launches Athena’s Web, a social networking site. Within a year, 50 percent of alumnae with email addresses on file were participating.
  • Tri-Co Library Blog debuts.


  • Bryn Mawr establishes its official persona on Facebook.
  • ’09: The College opens a Twitter account and begins tweeting.
  • ’10: The Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women and Higher Education at Bryn Mawr is established.