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STIM started as HoTNet (History of Technology Network) in March 1997. This timeline gives an overview of past and ongoing activities of STIM project teams.



  • Inauguration of HotNet (History of Technology Network)
    First project meeting with the Primary Investigators (PIs) at Stanford, representatives from Stanford University Libraries, and Xin Wei Sha from Academic Software Development at

    Official start of the project with completion of Stanford Team:
    Shenly Glenn, Project Manager
    Sigrid Mueller, Project Editor
    Xin Wei Sha (Academic Software Development), Technical

Phase I: Setting the Project Up


  • Procurment of equipment (workstations, servers, software) Development of on-line communication mechanisms (listservs, threaded e-mail)
  • Creation on-line help documentation for the conversion of paper- or document-based materials into a digital format
  • Beginning of the site development process by brainstorming with Primary Investigators
    about the purpose, audiences, and data collection/user interaction requirements of each site
  • Consulting with staff in project libraries, principally Stanford and UC Berkeley, about the relationship of STIM to the general state of 'digital library' developments
  • Library advisory group at Stanford assists with the development of tools to gather metadata from web sites ensuring compatibility with existing cataloging standards
  • Development of a distributed data model and test suites using MediaWeaver technology


  • Assisting PIs with site development
    * bringing PIs up to speed regarding web site design, information accumulation and delivery over the Web
    * continuing work with individual PI's on project conceptualization, goals, and functionality necessary to support user interactivity

  • David Soergel, student-programmer, hired part- time to implement the originally
    envisioned interactivity
  • Project-name get changed from HotNet to Perpetuum Mobile

  • Some PIs hire research assistants helping them with site-design and scanning

  • Individual project sites begin data collection and scanning
  • Research on copyright-issues; Eric Jaeger, legal consultant for Stanford University, advices the Stanford Production Team on basic issues concerning the production of web sites for educational purposes
  • Throughout the spring and summer, several phone conferences with the project teams and the Stanford production team to update each other, discuss problems and possible solutions and to plan the next steps ahead


  • Stanford Production Team devises mini-tests that anticipate the influx of data from the PIs


  • David Kirsch presents his project, EVOnline, at a panel-discussion at the Society for the
    History of Technology (SHOT) Annual Meeting in Pasadena, California, October 19, 1997
  • Tom Hughes hands the development of the BigDig-web site over to his research assistant Sara Wermiel

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Phase II: Interactivity and Recruitment


  • Decision against continuing with MediaWeaver as development platform
    After many tests MediaWeaver did not and could not be made to support the basic functionality required by the project participants
    MediaWeaver is replaced by Oracle databases and Web tools
  • Project administration is transferred to Jim Coleman, Head of Academic Computing for the Humanities
  • Tim Lenoir's MouseSite gets launched during a presentation by Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute
  • By the end of November the projects' home page and three project sites (MouseSite,
    EVOnline, PCR) are up and minimally operational

  • Second Project Meeting at Stanford
    * Review and evaluation of First Year
    * Outline of technical requirements for Phase II
  • Final storyboarding for the Big Dig and the Blackouts History Project
  • Focus shifts from site-design to interactivity and recruitment strategies for target
  • Project name is changed a second time from Perpetuum Mobile to
    Science and Technology in the Making
    (or STIM)

  • First Year Report by the Stanford Production Team and the five PIs is submitted to
    the Sloan Foundation


  • STIM home page gets redesigned
  • PCR - web site gets redesigned
  • Design, implementation and delivery of database-driven interactive tools
    * Users of STIM web sites can make electronic contributions
    * Contributions are cataloged and stored in a database
    * PIs can view, edit, publish, and/or archive these contributions via web forms
    * PIs can post surveys to be filled out by site users (e.g., the EVOnline survey)
    * Responses are stored in a database, and may be viewed in various formats, including graphical statistics displayed by a java applet
    * Site users can participate in on-line discussions in web-based threaded newsgroups.

  • Paul Rabinow's PCR-site is featured in the Scout report, a weekly review of internet
    resources and part of the HMS Beagle Syndication, a important web site on evolutionary biology.



  • Sara Wermiel launches the Big Dig web site
    Her target community is asked to comment on a chapter written by Tom Hughes describing a particular event in the history of the Boston Artery/Tunnel using web facilities
  • Tim Lenoir re/presents the STIM-project at the meeting of the Research Library Group in London


  • MouseSite is redesigned
  • Third Project Meeting at Stanford
    * Projects' Update
    * Evaluating the five web sites
    * Focus on increasing user interactivity
  • Mid-June: David Soergel hired as full-time software developer
  • The STIM-Proposal for the '98 SHOT Meeting in October '98 gets accepted
  • EV Survey was converted from Oracle to Fusion and put on the sloan server mainly for easier maintenance


  • Over the summer months PIs concentrate on interaction with and data collection from
    their target communities
  • Cold Fusion is replaced by WebObjects (middleware, sitting between database and web
    The original metadata forms were expanded due to PIs' requests for more features. These additional requests would have required to rewrite everything in Cold Fusion. David Soergel, STIM's programmer, decided against it and started with a new, more flexible program called
    In July David began rewriting the metadata forms in WebObjects and updated the
    database with significant changes to the database scheme. All the data was copied into
    WebObjects, debugged and rewritten.
  • Preparations for and writing of proposal for additional funding originating partly in the June-STIM meeting
    Additional funding is requested for:
    * Production of a CD-ROM for Public Relation and longterm preservation of data from
    the five web sites
    * Invitational Conference (possibly hosted by Stanford)
    Main goal of such a conference would be to bring together all web-based research projects funded by the Arthur P. Sloan Foundation and experts in related fields to discuss and
    evaluate virtual research environments.
  • Articles describing STIM appeared in
    * Computing at Stanford
    * Society for the History of Technology (SHOT)-Newsletter October 1998
  • Stanford Team initiated several discussions with project teams on additional recruitment strategies for their web sites
  • SITM home page is redesigned
    * More interactive features are added
    * Emphasis on turning the home page into a PR-tool for STIM
  • H-Net (or Humanities On-Line Initiative) sponsoring history discussion lists agrees to
    review STIM


  • Metadata template is functional
    * Cataloging of web sites and their digital material is expected to be finished by
    December '98
  • Project Teams start a series of monthly phone-calls bringing the following issues
    into focus:
    * Improving recruitment and on-line data gathering
    * Migrating and preservation of data past the end of March '99 when funding ends


  • Invitational Conference for Summer/Fall 1999 is approved by the Sloan-Foundation
  • Jim Coleman accepts a job as the projects manager for Harvard's Digital Library Projects
    Jim continues to manage STIM on a smaller scale; Lois Brooks and Sigrid Mueller
    function as on-site project managers
  • Brian Reilly, assistant professor for in the Educational Technology Leadership program at California State University, Hayward, conducts a technical evaluation of the STIM project sites (final report expected by mid-December '98)
  • Establishing Conference Committee to plan Invitational Conference


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