Telidon History

I’m teaching a course in Information Architecture at Ryerson. One of the class topics is a rapid run through of technologies for communicating and their impact on storage and retrieval. The site covers the usual suspects, but the text has no mention of Canadian contributions.

After sharing the above with Don Forgie who was actively involved in Telidon, he replied

“…  I wrote an article re Telidon.  I gave  a copy to Ran Ide (Head of TV Ontario) at a conference.  He read it and had me appointed to an important Telidon committee in  Ottawa chaired by a senior Minister or about tp be Minister.  The article gave a clear picture of what Telidon was, and wasn’t.  Subsequently Kieth Thomas helped me set up the required capablities to carry out a conference between York University and University of Toronto FLIS where we did the first (and only) test of interactive Telidon. A report of this was published immediatlely to confirm the experiment.  I believe I included some of this at the Birmingham conference which, if I recall, you were invited to but unable to attend.  Let me know what you are covering and I will be happy to try to fill in the gaps.

Before Telidon I became educated  by researchers at System Development Corporation who were years ahead of Canada in development of time sharing and all the elements I had be involved in provided pieces in the development of interactive data base systems. Waterloo did one of the first attempts with persons in British Columbia whereby they transferred  pictures and text in an “envelope” I think using Telidon.

As you know we used much of this kind of thinking when you were developing the SIRC center for Social Work.  I also in the early days of development and design of the teaching learning capabilies internalized in the new “Library School” building brought in people from Ryerson to show what aspects they were developing and I also taught a course on the interactive radio programme they had develop for remote  teaching.  TVO was also active in outreach and we developed a media mobile which we took to the Lakehead where TVO had an uplink to an early satelite and I taught a remote course by Satelite from the ground station there to TVO on the newly developing satelite capabilities for interactive teaching learning to classes from UofT and Western .  All these capabilities were part of the design for the teaching learning capabilities to be designed into the new teaching learning capabilities of the Faculty of Library Science Building.

In 1968 when I was hired to head up this project I set out a time horrizon for 2010.  The goal was to develop teaching learning capabilities for implementation into the media design that would still be relevent in 2010.  The technologies would change and the equipment but the basic capabilities designed into the system would still be relevent in 2010.

I don’t like to write something like this with all the I words, but in view of what you mention there was a great deal of development in Canada and much cooperation between Universities, Research Centres in the USA and Canada, Bell Canada Research, etc.  etc. which played important roles and can be seen as the building blocks for what we use, and misuse, world wide today…. Theoretically Harold Adams Innes and Marshal McLuhan played an important part in dealing with the impacts of technology on all aspects of human development…. and much of this is not understood today… There were also important persons in Great Britain well aware of the essential nature of communicating change capabilities.    I’m not sure what you mean by “Information Architecture” .  “Technologies for communicating and their impact on storage and retrieval” appears to be concerned with the hardware and software.  Even more important is the impact on human capabilities to think, remember and act.  Just as the wheel is the extension of the foot, technologies from earliest times affected the scope and demise of empires and also the way humans perceived their world.  Most of the impact is as invisible today as it was centuries ago from the development of cuneiform writing on clay tablets to the latest chip engraving techniques.

Not to many years ago people were concerned about the number of “publications”.  A common graph showed time for the x axis and number of publications for the y axis…. as these were plotted it was incomprehensible because the increase appeared to be approaching an infinite number of publications….  an asymtote I think it is called…. and this would be impossible….  try plotting the electronic publications of 2007….. and accessibility…..  I had better stop….. all of the above is well documented……but largely unrecognized today.  All this from the depth of my experience and the top of my mind…… not a very scholarly approach…. but you might like to think about the question you asked.  …..  [personal communication]


About mielniczuk

Community, systems, design, collaboration, change, evidence, Intelligent Accountability(c)
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