As someone who has recently gotten into the research world, I read a lot of preprints and occasionally dig up some technical reports to access older publications.

To me, it seems like technical reports were the paper version of preprints. Many technical reports appeared later as peer-reviewed articles or chapters of books. Nowadays, there are far fewer technical reports appearing. My department used to produce multiple dozens each year in the 70s and 80s, but they have only produced one so far this year.

Does this mean that preprints have taken the place of technical reports? Is there any reason why a researcher would choose to publish a technical report with their university or organization?

I’m interested in the academic history of creating a bibliographic reference list. The time period is early 1990s. I want to understand how former researchers have done their writing.


25 years ago in the year 1993 scientific publishing was not done with Internet but somehow else. From the history lesson it is known, that the first electronic OPAC systems were invented and they were used in many university libraries. The OPAC catalog didn’t contain the fulltext article but only the bibliographic references, for example author, title and year. The technology behind the early OPAC system was perhaps a desktop IBM PC, but I’m not sure. It is also possible that no electronic OPAC was available but only the good old card based catalog. In any case, the cards were not handwritten but with a typewriter, so the user of the library were able to find the correct book in a short amount of time.


After the short introduction for explaining the general environment in the early 1990s there are some open question which I wasn’t able to answer alone with literature research. So perhaps somebody has a personal experience and knows the details. The problem is, how the researcher can write his manuscript with a mix of a card based catalog and an early digital OPAC. The problem with the OPAC in that time was, that no copy & paste was possible. Suppose, I’ve found an interesting title on the screen, whats next? Should I write down the bibliographic reference direct in the manuscript or can I send the information to somebody else? A similar problem is given with the card catalog. Suppose, the researcher found an interesting looking entry. Probably it was not allowed to take the card out of the catalog and insert it in the own bibliographic references, so how has the researcher in that area solved the problem?

The next question is the sorting of the bibliographic references. Suppose, somebody has written down all the entries and want to insert a new entry alphabetically. What is the best practice method for doing so?

For a new paper about media archaeology in the context of scientific publication, I found an interesting topic which is not very well researched yet. As far as I know from research, in the year 2000 academic publication was done sometimes electronic and sometimes with printed material. Also, the Science Direct website was not invented yet.

But what is not given in the literature is, if in that time it was possible to do the peer-review process online or only with individual letters over postal mail service. Does anybody know the details of how the peer-review process was done in the year 2000?

I’m asking with a special question in mind. The idea is to describe the technical development of peer-review from the 1980s until the year 2010 with a focus on the work distribution among group of scientists. As far as I know, the idea behind peer review is that it can be done in parallel. But the scheduling must be coordinated, so my question is, if twenty years ago, this was done over e-mail, over postal letters or with the aforementioned Science Direct platform.

As noted in Derek Bok’s “Higher Education in America,” there is a trend in increased funding for large interdisciplinary research programs since the 1970’s (Think NSF MRSEC, for example).

What is the root cause or viewpoint for a shift towards this style of funding, as compared to single-PI research grant? Additionally, if this trend continues, administrators will increasingly pressure their departments into focusing on this type of funding source. Will academia eventually approach a similar climate to a national lab (ie, large teams working on interdisciplinary projects)?

For example: Do graduates receive a Bachelor of Arts degree or become a Bachelor of Arts?

Are Bachelor degrees grammatically and/or etymologically distinct from advanced degrees?

I note that the titles Master and Doctor are still in common usage, even though in practice frequently divorced from the associated academic degrees. (E.g, a Master as a formal designation is now most frequently associated with a skilled trade – like master electrician. And many holders of doctorate degrees eschew the use of the title outside of medicine and the academy.)

Etymologically it appears that Baccalaureate would be the correct term for a person who has received a Bachelor’s degree. But I can’t find that in modern usage, and its etymology (laureate) emphasizes the award of the degree, rather than the achievement of mastery or doctoral skill.

Or do I have it backward, and it is modern academia that has appropriated these different titles without establishing such terminological consistency?

I currently hold a bachelors in Computer science and a masters in Art History. I really want to combine the two and I know of Digital Humanities but I’m not completely aware of where Digital Humanists could work besides Museums, libraries, etc. and even at museums and the such, I imagine that the demand for Digital humanists isn’t THAT large either. Does anyone have any idea of how I could combine art history and computer science and what kind of places could I work in? If I do go into digital humanities, do you think I’d be expected to work in cultural settings or could I still get a job at a purely science industry? Any response will be greatly appreciated!

I’ve been looking at the bibliography of an old book called History Of Burma by G. E. Harvey and am quite confused.
There are abbreviations introduced first like this:

B Bodleian Library
BM British Museum
IO India Office Library

An example for an actual citation is:

John Stevens, The Portuguese Asia, three vols 1695.

B 55.b.59-61.
BM 582.e.6, 8.
IO 300.A.76.H.10-12

I can see the abbreviations refer to respective libraries, but what about the numbers? Are they referring to the book’s location in the library, or pages within the book itself?