Community Memory

1972 - 1974, Berkeley and San Francisco, California


Community Memory was the world's first public computerized bulletin board system. It was created by Efrem Lipkin, Mark Szpakowski, and Lee Felsenstein, acting as the Community Memory Project. Lee took care of hardware, Efrem software, and Mark user interface and information husbandry. A second incarnation of Community Memory, aimed at creating a global information network, appeared in the later seventies. Its major players were Efrem Lipkin and Ken Colstad.


Original Community Memory Teletype Community Memory Project, 1972-74
Berkeley, California

ASR-33 Teletype, in acoustic-shielding enclosure, at the entrance to Leopold's Records in Berkeley, connected by 110-baud line to XDS-940 host in San Francisco.

Anyone could Add a message, attach keywords to it, and Find messages.



Community Memory ran off an XDS-940 timesharing computer located in Resource One in San Francisco. The first terminal was an ASR-33 Teletype at the top of the stairs leading to Leopold's Records in Berkeley. You could leave messages and attach keywords to them. Other people could then find messages by those keywords.

The line from San Francisco to Berkeley ran at 110 baud - 10 characters per second. The teletype was noisy, so it was encased in a cardboard box, with a transparent plastic top so you could see what was being printed out, and holes for your hands so you could type. It made for some magic moments with the Allman Brothers' "Blue Sky" playing in the record store. Musicians loved it - they ended up generating a monthly printout of fusion rock bassists seeking raga lead guitars. And out of it also emerged the first net.personality - Benway, as he called himself.

Benway: "..... SENSUOUS KEYSTROKES FORBIDDEN ....."

At last... A Community Memory! Four-page center inset in the Resource One Newsletter, Number 2, April 1974:
pp 3a   3b   4a   4b   4-5   6a   6b  

Guide to Using The Community Memory excerpt

Community Memory!!! flyer


All images licensed by Mark Szpakowski for the Community Memory Project under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike

Last modified 1997/01/14, 2006/11/04, by Mark Szpakowski (szpak@well.com)