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Goodwill Computer Museum Catalog Conversion Project, 2012 : [2707]

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Goodwill Computer Museum Catalog Conversion Project Description

Historical Note:

Established in 2007, the Goodwill Computer Museum (GCM) in Austin, Texas, serves as both an educational space for the public as well as a repository that documents the history of computer technology from the mid-20th century to the present day. The vast majority of its collections have been acquired through recycled electronics donated to the Computerworks Division of the Goodwill Industries of Texas. In addition to raising awareness about the environmental importance of recycling electronics, the GCM seeks to draw customers to the Computerworks store in order to resell affordable computers and computer parts. The Computerworks Division recycles 250 tons of electronics annually, thus reducing a large portion of waste equal to that produced by approximately 765 US households per year.

Despite its founding in 2007, the GCM began collecting computer hardware and software in 1999. The GCM also sought to restore a great deal of the materials it collected, employing the expertise of volunteer engineers, technologists, those interested in retrocomputing, and students from the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. The GCM sheds light on the history of computer technology not only in its exhibition space, but also in its catalog database, which contains information on its artifactual holdings.

Scope and Contents:

Comprising catalog entries for hardware, software, documentation, and associated metadata, the Goodwill Computer Museum’s catalog database documents the museum’s collection of recycled and donated computer hardware and software, illustrating the history of the evolution of computer technology. The database contains not only metadata for artifacts, but also photographs and scanned schematics. Though originally cataloged first as a custom application and later in Fedora Commons, the catalog as found consisted of two different though interconnected databases - "GCM" and "Fedora3." The GCM's collection is now currently being maintained and preserved in DSpace.

The DSpace catalog consists of two main subcommunities - the catalog and the project documentation. The catalog comprises nearly 3000 items: agents, software, texts, and physical objects. Physical objects include such hardware as keyboards, hard drives, monitors, motherboards, and video cards, as well as some books, while software consists of various media and applications. Manuals, guides, photographs, articles, boxes, and papers compose textual materials; and names of individuals associated with the provenance of the materials are included in the agent collection. These collections reflect the extent of the GCM's holdings as well as its original intellectual arrangement.


“Goodwill Computer Museum.” Accessed March 23, 2012. http://www.austincomputerworks.org/museum/.

Galloway, Patricia. “Retrocomputing, Archival Research, and Digital Heritage Preservation: A Computer Museum and iSchool Collaboration.” Library Trends 59.4 (2011): 623-636.

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