The new year rang in new leadership for Working Group 9.7, which focuses on the history of computing. After many years of service, Arthur and Barbara Tatnall stepped down at the end of 2016, handing over the reins to new chair, Christopher Leslie and vice chair, Martin Schmitt.

Chris, a lecturer in Science and Technology Studies at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, paid tribute to the Tatnalls for their many years of service and significant contribution to the work of the group.

Arthur became Vice Chair of WG 9.7 to John Impagliazzo in 2005 and stepped in as chair in January 2007. Barbara became Secretary at that time. As chair, Arthur edited two IFIP/Springer books: Reflections on the History of Computing in 2012 and Reflections on the History of Computers in Education in 2014. He and Barbara were also involved in organising the following IFIP conferences:

  • History of Computing – Learning from the Past (WG 9.7 part of WCC 2010, Brisbane)
  • Making the History of Computing Relevant (WG 9.7, 2013, London)
  • ICT and Society (WG 9.7 part of TC9 conference, Turku, 2014)

They also helped to organise and presented papers at a number of TC3 conferences as well as attending various IFIP world computer congresses.

Arthur and Barbara intend to continue their membership of WG 9.7 but will no longer hold office, although Arthur will continue as Chair of IFIP WG 3.4 – Professional and Vocational Education in ICT until July this year. He will also continue as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Education and Information Technologies.

Chris Leslie has served as vice chair of WG 9.7 since 2014 and he organised the working group’s May 2016 conference at New York University, “International Histories of Innovation and Invention.” He co-edited with Arthur the forthcoming volume of selected papers from the conference. At NYU, Chris formed a science and technology studies major and works on the history of hypertext and the Internet.

The new vice chair, Martin Schmitt, is a research fellow at the Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany, who received the DGPuK award for young researchers in 2016 for his work on the history of the Internet. He is currently working on a book about the digitisation of German banking and is part of the research group “Computerization and social order in East and West Germany”.

Future plans for the group include playing an active role in the World Computer Congress in Poznan, Poland, with a selection of papers regarding the history of socialist computing and collaboration among nations. WG 9.7 also hopes to reach out to national computing organisations to collaborate on history of computing workshops in member countries. Anyone wishing to participate should contact WG 9.7 chair Chris Leslie at