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I have always enjoyed history, but I find computer history particularly intriguing, in part because technology has changed so rapidly and the history of modern computing has occurred in a time frame that I remember. It is always fun to gather a few friends and play the "I remember when" game, as in, I remember when:


* floppy disks were 5-1/4" and they were floppy


* computers had 64K of RAM, and I thought that was more than I would ever need


* it took me a year to figure out how to turn on underlining in WordStar



The journal you are holding in your hands is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and I remember when it was just a newsletter. Copies that I have here in the archives look hopelessly old-fashioned with their dot-matrix printing and smudgy photocopying. Early articles and reviews are entertaining, such as a review of the Osborne 1, with this description of the usefulness of a word processor: "Word processing is an emerging and imperfect technology. Even the most simplistic word processor program requires one to learn a series of commands that are not intuitively connected with the result of issuing the command... Once exposed to word processing, however, very few will opt to return to the electric typewriter."1(p3) When I first read this I laughed, thinking how much things have changed, but then I thought, "Have they really? Is 'Ctrl-V' at all intuitive to paste a block of text?" Hmmm... (While we are on the subject, in my attic I have a black and tan Osborne 1 with a black and tan monitor [very rare], an Osborne Executive, and a complete archive of The Portable Companion. For those who know what I am talking about, send an e-mail to and we can reminisce!)


In spite of its old-fashioned appearance, the early CIN articulated a vision to which we remain true today: to provide a forum for nurses who use computers to share information, whether they are in practice, education, research, or administration. The dramatic changes of the past 20 years have continually reinforced the importance of a vehicle to communicate, illuminate, update, and occasionally debate the roles and uses of technology in our professional work. I know my readers cover a wide spectrum of users, including nurse informaticists with broad computer expertise to nurses who call themselves novices and are struggling to become comfortable with computer technology. CIN has always recognized this diverse readership and is committed to providing current information and resources that range, as the founding editor, Gary Hales, wrote, "From the elementary to the sublime and eloquent."2


To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the journal has been redesigned, with a new look, new features, and a (slightly) new name:CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing. In fact, CIN has been the de facto name for years, but in the eyes of the publisher and the National Library of Medicine, it was Computers in Nursing. Many new names were debated, but in the end we all agreed that the journal is about computers and nursing. The decision was made to keep the "C" and "N" but update the "I" to informatics, a word that did not even appear in the pages of Computers in Nursing until the late 1980s. As a name, CIN represents the best of the old as well as the promise of the future. Now, for a bit of housekeeping: I always say the name as the three letters, C-I-N. When I took over the editorship of the journal several years ago, the outgoing editor admonished me, "Sin (CIN) is a path down which you just don't want to go." Keep this in mind, dear reader!


Join with me and celebrate CIN. It is heartening to read the early newsletter and realize that its original vision holds true today. Looking at various articles published throughout the years, it is impressive to see the development of a body of research within the emerging specialty of nursing informatics. It is exciting to see the creative and innovative ways in which nurses are using computers in all dimensions of their work. And it is stunning to see just how much technology has changed. Although many things have stayed the same, many more have changed, and in truly dramatic fashion. Play "I remember when" to see what I mean-and then send me (via e-mail, your favorite "I remember when." As we celebrate this anniversary year, I will be featuring bits and pieces of CIN history in the journal, and I would like to have my readers be part of the party. I look forward to hearing from you!




1. Kadner K. The Osborne 1: a portable microcomputer. Comput Nurs. 1982; 1 (2):2. [Context Link]


2. Hales G. Editor's comments. Comput Nurs. 1982; 1 (1):1. [Context Link]