Millenium date David Fritsch 28 Jul 1995 15:41 UTC

In order to complete some personal research on the so-called "millenium date
problem" as it relates to computer systems, if anyone knows of any articles or
reports about how this issue is affecting libraries, please email me with (even
partial or uncertain) citations.

Briefly put, the millenium date problem is this:

Computer systems designers in the 60's, 70's, and 80's  programmed these
systems to default the value of the first two digits of any year to
"19", on the assumption that their systems would be replaced or completely
re-designed well before the turn of the millenium. This did not happen, with
the result that (according to one estimate) there are 200 million lines of
COBOL programming code alone, currently in use, which will be unable to cope
with years beginning 20". Estimates on costs to correct the problem range from
"$80 billion to $100 billion. The high costs are incurred as a result of
having to review every line of code in order to identify and change which
lines contain date manipulations.

Estimates are that Fortune 500 companies will spend an average of $50 million
apiece to revise their systems.

Extensive literature searches performed for me by the Michigan Information
Transfer Source at the University of Michigan and elsewhere identified 62
articles in the business and computer science literature on this subject. Most
deal with industries such as insurance and banking. <Library and Information
Science Abstracts> contained no articles on this subject. Neither Uncover(TM)
nor Faxon Finder (TM) had any articles that pertained to libraries, although
both had a number of recent articles that were relevant.

This research is for personal purposes and is not intended for publication.
However, if anyone knows of any publicly available information as it relates to
libraries, I would be very grateful.

For the benefit of Faxon clients reading this who might have a concern, Faxon's
upcoming <Source> internal system, like all systems recently designed or
currently in development, is designed to handle dates beginning with "20".

Please reply to me at, not to the listserv.

[David Fritsch <FRITSCH@FAXON.COM>]