GCN at 25: A wonder of the world?

Who says government projects never get finished on time? Back in 1986, the Patent and Trademark Office launched what a GCN editorial at the time called 'a herculean ADP undertaking''a 20-year project to automate the 27 million documents amassed since the first patent was issued in 1790. The editorial was accompanied by a cartoon that expressed what were common doubts about the project, especially on Capitol Hill. Well, PTO not only finished its project, but did it ahead of schedule. Documents filed from 1976 on were text-searchable in 1999. And patents dating to the first, issued in 1790 to Samuel Hopkins for a process used in making soap, were made available as images in November 2000. In an age when 'overrun' seems inseparable from 'government project,' it's worth a mention.

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