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Not so long ago, listings and punched cards were widely used by families of JINR employees for household chores. Some people still keep stocks of these helpful paper items. Maybe it was impossible to believe that the end of the punched card era would ever come, and there were plenty of cards in stock. And it was not surprising because in science fiction of the last century even robots and super machines of the future were coded with punched cards.

Well, what is this really?

Punched cards are a storage medium. They were used for data input and further data storage. At the end of the 19th century, people learned how to process Big Data using punched cards and they applied this method for about one hundred years.

Each punched card keeps one data record, up to 80 characters. They were perforated by a punch in number rows. Decks of punched cards were sent to the computer control room where data entered the computer via an input device. The computer processed the data and delivered the result onto long paper listings via an alphanumeric line printer.

As far back as the early 1980s, bookkeepers calculated salaries using punched cards. And in science, data input was performed via computer terminals.

In the photo: A punched card with the JINR logo. An LIT employee with the BESM-6 remote display station in the background (JINR Photo Archive). How to use punched cards in everyday life―as bookmarks and for notes (photos from the Museum-Study of Bruno Pontecorvo (DLNP, JINR)).

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