Post by Dallas
At Texas Instruments as early as 1980 we had a system named TIOLR that was very much like a "wiki".
You could put information in a page structure and it was generally universally accessible by
employees using T.I's "homebrew" version of the IBM 3270 terminal they had installed around the world.
It was very popular within TI.
Here is a snippet from
The primary system that is used with TI for electronic
filing is referred to as TIOLR (TI On-Line Reporting).
TIOLR was originally conceived solely as a cost effective
alternative to printing. This system was designed as a hierarchical reporting
structure accessible on-line by any terminal in the network and therefore offered
additional capabilities. Some of the current applications are computer
generated reports, electronic newspaper, reference information, systems documentation,
and it is also used as an input mechanism for data collection functions.
( as linked from https://www.computer.org/csdl/proceedings-article/afips/1980/50880515/12OmNwtWfPN )
If you think hypertext systems can be considered to be "wiki-type" repositories,
then their history starts with Vannevar Bush's seminal essay in the January
1945 issue of The Atlantic, "As We May Think," wherein he proposes a system he
called Memex. In addition to links to various information sources, it also had
the ability to include commentary. Bush is widely accepted as the conceptual
father of hypertext.
Ted Nelson and Doug Englebart both started working on computer-based hypertext
systems in the early 1960s, but neither finished a working prototype until
several years later. At that point the projects start multiplying, and in the
early 1970s one of the most famous, PLATO, emerges. Of course, there's a
wikipedia page on the topic:
DEC had Notes and Notesfiles. Notes was originally a "midnight" programming
project by a VMS software engineer. He shared it and its popularity grew in
conjunction with the rapid growth of DEC's internal network. Eventually it was
recognized as such a useful tool that it became an official product. I was
using Notes at DEC in 1982, so I suspect its creation dates to 1981, or perhaps
Notesfiles are something like an organized bulletin board. They have a
collection of base notes. Each base note can have a linear string of replies.
A user can create a new base note or reply to an existing one. Each note
contains the network address of the poster, their user-settable identification
string, a date/time stamp, and the body of their post. The Notes program keeps
track of when a Notesfile was last accessed, and can show the user all the new
notes that have been added since that time. The files themselves reside on
specific (Vax) machines; users open them by supplying the files' network
address. It's a fairly simple system; its power lies in the network.
In the years before the computing model was a PC on every workers's desk, the
vast majority of DEC employees had a terminal connected to a timesharing system
instead. In the early 1980s, the company started connecting all the disparate
subnets together into one interconnected whole. By the middle of the decade,
hundreds of PDP-10s, PDP-11s, and VAXes were on the company-wide Easynet, and
thus tens of thousands of employees had ready access to the growing number of
There were Notesfiles dedicated to many different topics, both personal and
professional. There were Notesfiles devoted to car repair, trivia questions,
and restaurant reviews. There were also Notesfiles for various technical
issues. Eventually many product groups created their own "official" Notesfile,
where people could get technical help, ask questions, and suggest new features.
These tech-oriented Notesfiles, with their collection of tips and techniques,
can obviously be classified as a "wiki-type" repository.