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Re: Pre-relational, post-relational, 1968 CODASYL "Survey of Data Base Systems"

From: Ken North <>
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004 18:18:45 -0700
Message-ID: <c6hoif$cmb$>

> You might want to take a look at to see a diagram I
> did when researching both history and current vendors of products based on
> the Nelson-Pick "data model." IBM has the largest installed base.

There's a discrepancy between

  1. Your diagram ( )
  2. this page (
  3. various Pick history documents over the years (e.g.,

and an article in my folder of 1968 documents.

References 1 and 2 show GIRLS to be a predecessor to TRW's GIM-I (1965). That's in agreement with an article published in a Datamation article (1967 or 1968, the data is illegible).

Some Pick documents refer to GIRLS as originally conceived as a TRW project. For example, this Pick corporate history is incorrect (according to that old article):

"In 1965, as part of a research and development project for the U.S. Army, engineers at TRW Corp developed a software program called Generalized Information Retrieval Lanaguage and System." Or GIRLS for short."

The 1965 effort at TRW was part of the Cheyenne helicopter program, which was eventually cancelled by the US government. The DBMS produced by that effort was called GIM, ane eventually GIM-I when TRW started developing GIM-II for PDP-11 minicomputers. GIM-I was still running at TRW after Dick Pick was working on Microdata Reality in the early '70s.

In "General Purpose Software" (Datamation), Donald H. Sundeen is pretty clear about the origin of GIRLS:

"A joint effort by Advanced Information Systems and Douglas Aircraft Company in 1961 resulted in the development of GIRLS (Generalized Information Retrieval and Listings System) for an IBM 7090 at the latter firm's Missile and Space Systems Division."

So why the confusion? It was probably an overlap in personnel -- one or more GIRLS developers who worked on GIM a few years later (possibly Dwight Buettell, Don Nelson or Dick Pick). Received on Sun Apr 25 2004 - 20:18:45 CDT

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