An Electronic Bulletin Board System (BBS) at The National Society of Professional Engineers


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Title: An Electronic Bulletin Board System (BBS) at The National Society of Professional Engineers

Author(s): J. Pepper

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 106


Appears on pages(s): 87-98

Keywords: computer programs; engineering; information systems; telecommunication

Date: 6/1/1988

At the 1986 winter Meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, the National Society of Professional Engineers, decided to study the possibility of an electronic bulletin board system (BBS) being installed at our headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The purpose of the board was to provide a national communication link for the engineers in the society, who number around 75,000. The project manager of construction of computer applications was given the task of further defining the goals of the system evaluating alternative systems, making the selection, and following the project through installation and complete implimentation. In order to learn more about how bulletin boards functioned, a commodore 64 was taken from the office and fitted with a modem (an acronym for modulator/demodular) a device which concerts digital data into audio tones suitable for transmission over regular telephone lines and bulletin boards in south Florida area were called. Whyat was found out there was quite interesting for the most part, it's like the work of the Cber's with a lot of chatter, exotic names (handles), jokes, meaningless messages, and just general fun, but upon further explanation a more serious element was found. A few of the boards contacted were doing real work, some dedicated to a particular computer system, such as a heathkit IBM, commodore, etc. and others dedicated to such objects as computer communications, radio and television graphics, music, religion, and serious discussion of just about everything imaginable. The seboard shadusersand sysops (System Operators) that were helping each other in a way we had never envisioned before