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Control Data Corporation records. Computer-based education.

Identifier: CBI 80, Series 4

Scope and Content Note

The Computer-Based Education (CBE) series documents CDC’s objective to create, market and distribute PLATO courseware internally within various CDC departments and divisions, and externally.

Records include a large number of courseware design and development project files, as well as the files of various Control Data Education Company executives and courseware managers. The bulk of the material contains files of individuals and is arranged by CBE executive or manager. The remaining materials are design and development courseware project files and are arranged by course name. Files consist of correspondence, memos, meeting materials, presentations and demos, project and contract materials, proposals, and correspondence with courseware authors. This series includes information about CDC’s Learning Centers and Control Data Institutes (CDI). CDI and PLATO catalogs, product literature and manuals, have been separated from the collection and placed in the CDC Collection, Product Literature series. Please note that Control Data Institute materials do not include transcripts. For PLATO courseware agreements and contracts, please see the CDC Legal Records series. There are also several files regarding PLATO and CBE in the alphabetical and numerical subject files of the William C. Norris Executive Papers in CBI 80.


  • 1964-1987
  • Majority of material found within 1975-1982


Language of Materials


Access to materials:

Access to the collection is unrestricted.


The Charles Babbage Institute holds the copyright to all materials in the collection, except for items covered by a prior copyright (such as published materials). Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Historical Note

The CDC PLATO (Programmed Logic for Augomatic Teaching Operations) system was a computer-based educational system designed for individualized and distributive education in an interactive environment. PLATO was under development beginning in 1960 by a staff of educators and scientists at the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory (CERL) of the University of Illinois. The Control Data Corporation (CDC) PLATO system was a production version of the research system developed at CERL and by the late 1970s was considered the most advanced computerized system developed for educational purposes. PLATO ran on a CDC CYBER 173 Computer. It was a time-sharing system, with the mainframe located in Minneapolis and, in 1978, about 1500 PLATO terminals located in the United States, Canada, Belgium, and France.

External clients included special training contracts with the United States Army, the United States Navy, and other non-military organizations. Other courseware was developed for classes in Creative Learning Centers and Control Data Institutes. PLATO was also developed for use by disabled individuals in their home (HOMEWORK), and in the Minnesota state correctional facilities.

Information from CBI 80, Series 4 (Computer-Based Education), H. D. Clover, PLATO (Box 1).


30 boxes (30 cubic feet)


The Computer-Based Education (CBE) series documents CDC’s objective to create, market and distribute PLATO courseware internally within various CDC departments and divisions, and externally.

Arrangement of Collection

The records are divided into subseries by individual project developer. There are also subseries of Courseware Design and Development Projects and Courseware Subject Files.


The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by Ceridian Corporation in 1991.

Control Data Corporation Records. Computer-Based Education.
Finding Aid.
Prepared by Maria Plonski, 2003-2004; Amanda Schwartze and Kate Flanagan, 2004; and Kevin Irving and Stephanie Horowitz, 2008.
July 2008
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Charles Babbage Institute Archives Collecting Area

Elmer L. Andersen Library
222 - 21st Avenue South
Minneapolis MN 55455