For basic information on time-sharing, check out “The Virtues of Sharing” page on the Computer History Museum site. Then turn to “Timesharing as a Business” to learn about the growth and commercialization of the industry.

Read “Reminiscences on the History of Time-Sharing,” written by John McCarthy, to read about how this time-sharing pioneer’s life was wrapped up in the development of the time-sharing field.

For another retrospective look at time-sharing, read Bob Bemer’s article “Origins of Time-Sharing.” Bemer argues that he was at least a partial inventor of timesharing; in the process, he breaks down each of the contributions made by scientists to the development of timesharing.


Watch this vintage video footage of a 1963 interview with a MIT professor about the burgeoning time-sharing system. The video’s a little slow, but it does a good job of laying out the system of timesharing from basic principles.


IEEE: “Economic Perspectives on the History of the Computer Time-Sharing Industry, 1965-1985,” Martin Campbell-Kelly and Daniel D. Garcia-Swartz: This article provides a history of the oft-overlooked time-sharing industry. Counter to popular perception, the authors argue that the time-sharing business did not collapse after the computer recession in 1970-1971 but instead held on tenaciously to the computer market until the PC replaced most mainframe computers. The article gives an industry overview rather than focusing on any one company in particular.


Campbell-Kelly and Aspray, Computer: A History of the Information Machine, 186-187