A prototype electronic device designed to store large amounts of information and present selected categories quickly and upon demand is being tested for performance at the Department of Agriculture library in Washington. Known as the “rapid selector,” it was developed from pre‐war suggestions of Vannevar Bush by Engineering Research Associates of Minneapolis under the joint sponsorship of the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture. Information is microfilmed and stored on standard thirty‐five millimeter motion picture film, one reel of which can carry the contents of almost five hundred thousand conventional library cards. Coding on the film permits the operator of the rapid selector to obtain information on any desired subject by inserting a master key card. The selector's photoelectric eyes then scan the film at a rate of over sixty thousand subjects a minute, automatically select the desired frames, and copy them on a separate film through the use of high‐speed photoflash techniques. According to a recent announcement by the two government departments, the rapid selector could, in about fifteen minutes, review all the entries that have appeared in the standard guide, “Chemical Abstracts,” in the last thirty years—if one presupposed that each abstract had previously been microfilmed and properly coded with light patterns for use in the device.

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