[TUHS] Bell Labs Computer Science Technical Reports

Diomidis Spinellis dds at aueb.gr
Wed Mar 22 03:38:05 AEST 2017

I was searching today to find where the Unix pipeline spell checking 
method "tr | sort | uniq | comm" was first published.  I found it in a 
document by Brian Kernighan titled "UNIX for Beginners".

"The pipe mechanism lets you fabricate quite complicated operations out 
of spare parts already built. For example, the first draft of the spell 
program was (roughly) [...]"


Then my problem became properly citing the document.  Searching on 
Google, Google Scholar, and IEEE Xplore didn't help me.  In the end I 
found the reference in a 1993 refer file of all Bell Labs Computer 
Science Technical Reports I had saved from my student days.

%cstr 75
%report Comp. Sci. Tech. Rep. No. 75
%keyword CSTR OBS
%author B. W. Kernighan
%title UNIX for Beginners
%date February 1979
%journal UNIX Programmer's Manual
%volume 2
%other Section 3
%date January 1979
%type techreport obsolete

I couldn't find the refer file online, so I'll send a copy to Warren for 

However, I'm wondering whether we should/could do something to also 
archive the actual pages of all the Bell Labs Computer Science Technical 
Reports.  I think some are the only authoritative primary source for 
many Unix-related gems and a lack of an electronic archive means they 
will slowly fade into non-existence.  I remember we had many of those at 
the library of Imperial College London.  Any suggestions on what we can 
do to archive this material?


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