Fonds UBCA-ARC-1200 - UBC Information Technology fonds

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UBC Information Technology fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Photographic material

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  • Source of title proper: The title is based on the provenance of the fonds.
  • Variations in title: Formerly known as the Computing Centre fonds.

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Physical description

8.59m of textual records.
70 photographs.

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Administrative history

In the autumn of 1955, President Norman Mackenzie appointed a Committee on Automation to investigate "the University's total interest in computers and automation in general." The Committee consisted of approximately 20 members representing most of the research interests on campus and was chaired by E.D. McPhee. At the Committee's first meeting on November 16, 1955, four sub-committees were formed: Departmental Interests and Specifications; Training and Curriculum: Type Equipment; and Library Needs and Resources. The Committee held several meetings and prepared several reports on various facets of computerization.
The University of British Columbia Computing Centre was established in 1957 with the ALWWAC III-E installation. Because of the ever-increasing demand for memory and speed, the Computing Centre eventually replaced the ALWAC with the IBM 1620 in 1961. The IBM 7040 was introduced in 1964, and IBM 360/67 and IBM 7044 were introduced in 1967. Over the years, the Centre has continually upgraded its facilities to provide academic and administrative computing services to the University.
In the 1990s, the Computing Centre went through many significant changes, both structurally and functionally. In 1994 it became a core component of a new division known as University Computing & Communications (C&C). C&C initially had four main branches under it, known as University Computing Services, Telecommunication Services, Media Services (later ImPress), and UBC Press. In 1995 Information Systems Management was absorbed by C&C. In 1999, Computing & Communications became Information Technology Services (IT Services). In 2003, IT Services was restructured and, after removing two units that did not fit its mission, became UBC Information Technology "IT." In 2010 IT groups were amalgamated to form UBC IT. As of 2018, the department service offerings range from IT-related strategy, applications, infrastructure, to support services.
The department has had several heads since its inception. The title for the head of the department has evolved from Supervisor to Director to Associate Vice-President. Currently, UBC IT falls under the Associate Vice-President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Jennifer Burns (2015 –). Previous individuals holding the top leadership position over the years have included T. E. Hull (1957 -1964), James M. Kennedy (1966 – 1980), Alvin G. Fowler (1981 – 1985), and Jack L. Leigh (1986-1997), Ted Dodds (1997 – 2009), Oliver Grüter-Andrew (2009 – 2015).
Additional administrators of note include S. Werner "Vern" Dettwiler (Acting Head 1963-1965), Dr. Richard Spencer (Acting Head 2007-2008), Carol J. Bird, and Jim Tom. Carol was Assistant Director (1980-1990), Associate Director of Academic Services (1990-1993) and Director of Information Systems Management (1993-1995). Jim Tom was Director of Telecommunications (1992 – 1999), Director of Networks (1999 – 2004), and Director of e-Learning & Telestudios (2004).

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records that document the origins and establishment of the UBC Computing Centre as well as financial, technical, organizational, and administrative records through the time it was known as Computing Services and University Computing & Communications. It includes the CIPS Sous-fonds, and twelve series: Early Computing Centre Series; Pre-1969 Series; 1969-1978 Series; Systems Hardware Operations Committee Series (SHOC); Software Committee Series; Manuals and Technical Information Series; UBC Computing Centre Newsletter Series; 1979-1989 Alphabetical Series; 1973-1996 Chronological Series; UBC Computing Centre Documentation Series 1965-1991; Jim Tom's Office Series 1986-1997, Miscellaneous Series 1972-1996; and Photograph Series.

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Last two items in Box 24 were donated by Ed Chow in 2015. The newsletters in Box 30 were acquired from Jenifer Monger at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. The remainder were acquired from the Computing Centre and UBC IT in various accruals.


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These are institutional records and subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Researcher access to these records is subject to review. To organize access please contact us at UBC Archives.

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Online Finding Aid
Please see finding aid for the file list.

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Updated in January 2021, JM.

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