Computers in Publishing

July 10, 1968

Report Outline
Growing Use of Computers in Publishing
Advances in Printing Over the Centuries
Unsolved Problems in Use of Computers

Growing Use of Computers in Publishing

The publishing industry is in the midst of its fourth revolution. The first revolution occurred more than 500 years ago, when Johann Gutenberg or one of his contemporaries invented movable type; the second took place in 1884, when Ottmar Mergenthaler patented the Linotype machine; and the third dates from 1905, when Ira Rubel, a New Jersey lithographer, built the first offset printing press. The latest revolution, the computer revolution, is barely five years old. Even in that short period, however, computers have gone a long way toward transforming the nature of newspaper and magazine publishing. A similar transformation is under way in the two other main branches of the industry—book publishing and commercial printing.

The computer is basically an electronic calculating machine. Like the common desk calculator, it can add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers. More complex calculations are merely combinations of these basic steps. What makes the electronic computer superior to the desk calculator is its ability to process, store and retrieve enormous amounts of information at lightning speed.

Initially intended for use in the laboratory, computers today serve businessmen as well as scientists. The machines employed in offices are used mainly for high-speed data processing. There they handle such routine data as subscription records, checks, bills, inventories, and payroll records, with attendant savings in time, money and manpower.

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