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Guide to the James N. Porter papers
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Collection Details
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  • Processing Information
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of the Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Material
  • Related Collections at CHM

  • Title: James N. Porter papers
    Identifier/Call Number: X6504.2012
    Contributing Institution: Computer History Museum
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 139.21 Linear feet, 111 record cartons, 4 manuscript boxes
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1970-2003
    Date (inclusive): 1956-2010
    Abstract: The James N. Porter papers document Porter’s career in the disk drive and data storage industries, particularly his role as the founder and president of DISK/TREND, which published annual market study reports on the disk drive and data storage industry. Material dates from 1956 to 2010, with the bulk of material from 1970 to 2003. The majority of material in the collection consists of DISK/TREND’s profiles on companies active in the disk drive industry. A smaller portion of the collection contains material related to data storage industry conferences, including IDEMA’s DISKCON and DataStorage, two conferences Porter co-founded; storage industry market studies; Porter’s research files on various types of data storage technologies; records from his employment and consulting work outside of DISK/TREND; and unprocessed audiovisual material.
    creator: Porter, James N., 1931-2012

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Bo Doub and Kim Hayden, 2015.

    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    The Computer History Museum (CHM) can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claims of the copyright holder. Requests for copying and permission to publish, quote, or reproduce any portion of the Computer History Museum’s collection must be obtained jointly from both the copyright holder (if applicable) and the Computer History Museum as owner of the material.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], [Date], James N. Porter papers, Lot X6504.2012, Box [#], Folder [#], Catalog [#], Computer History Museum.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of James N. Porter, 2012.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    James (Jim) N. Porter was born October 3, 1931, in Sacramento, California. He received a bachelor’s degree in Advertising from San Jose State University.
    Porter worked in marketing for the paper manufacturer Crown Zellerbach after the company received IBM’s RAMAC, the first computer to use a disk drive, in 1956. Impressed with the machine, Porter would show it off to office visitors, and it was after this experience around the RAMAC that his interest in drive technology took off. After Crown Zellerbach, Porter worked for Memorex from 1968 to 1971 in different marketing roles and as the manager of computer media product management. In 1971, Porter was hired as the director of marketing for Cartridge Television Inc., one of the first developers of home video cassette systems. He worked there until 1973, when he took the role of director of marketing for CMX Systems, a joint Memorex-CBS company that made and marketed computer-controlled videotape editing systems. Around this time, he also worked for Rockwell International.
    In 1974, Porter started his own management consulting firm, working for various companies, including Memorex. In 1977, he founded the industry analyst firm DISK/TREND, which published annual market study reports on the disk drive and data storage industries. DISK/TREND was considered the industry standard for market studies, and Porter was in high demand to speak on panels and present his DISK/TREND reports at disk and storage conferences worldwide.
    Porter was a founder and chairman of IDEMA (International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association), and was heavily involved in their annual DISKCON trade shows, both in the United States and in Asia. He also founded the DataStorage conference. Porter retired DISK/TREND in 1999. He continued speaking at conferences and shows until the end of his life. He died March 2, 2012.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    The James N. Porter papers contain records from Porter’s career in the disk drive and data storage industries, especially in his role as founder and president of DISK/TREND. The collection spans from 1956 to 2010 with the bulk of the collection ranging from 1970 to 2003, around the period of DISK/TREND’s active years.
    The largest parts of the collection comprise DISK/TREND’s profiles on companies active in the disk drive industry. Porter filed and classified most of these companies as “manufacturers” (Series 1), but also kept separate files on “suppliers” (Series 5). The material in Series 1, “Disk drive manufacturer profiles,” was relatively more extensive and organized than other parts of the collection. For instance, each manufacturer profile includes DISK/TREND worksheets, which were used in Porter’s interviews with industry leaders and also in providing content for DISK/TREND publications.
    Another significant part of the collection covers material that Porter collected and/or created from conferences, symposia, workshops, and other events taking place within the data storage industry. Two conferences that Porter co-founded and operated: DISKCON (run under IDEMA) and DataStorage, are heavily represented in this part of the collection.
    The collection also holds storage industry market studies, which include reports from peer publications similar to DISK/TREND, analyst reports created for investment purposes, academic market studies authored under business schools, and a small amount of DISK/TREND reports. Porter’s research files on various types of data storage technologies are also held in this collection, along with records from his employment and consulting work outside of DISK/TREND. Lastly, there is a small amount of unprocessed audiovisual material.


    The collection is arranged into 7 series:
    Series 1, Disk drive manufacturer profiles, 1959-2010, bulk 1971-1999
    Series 2, Conferences, courses, and presentations, 1977-2010
    Series 3, Storage industry market studies, 1969-2012, bulk 1977-2003
    Series 4, Data storage background files, 1978-2010
    Series 5, Disk drive supplier profiles, 1976-2010
    Series 6, Non-DISK/TREND employment and consulting, 1956-1986
    Series 7, Unprocessed AV material, 1970-2002

    Separated Material

    Non text items were separated from the main collection. These include Flip-Chip modules, various types of hard disk drives, ephemera, floppy disk cassettes, data cartridges, optical disks, and flexible disk drives. To view catalog records for separated material search the CHM catalog at http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/search/ .

    Related Collections at CHM

    Complete runs of each “DISK/TREND Report,” titled and published under the following categories: “Disk Drive Arrays,” “Flexible Disk Drives,” “Optical Disk Drives,” “Removable Data Storage,” and “Rigid Disk Drives.”
    Hard disk drive transition to thin film media oral history panel, Lot X3593.2006, catalog number 102657957.
    Hard disk drive transition for personal computers oral history panel, Lot X3701.2007, catalog number 102657960.
    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) 1311 and 2311 disk drives oral history panel, Lot X3111.2005, catalog number 102657931.
    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) 3380 disk drive oral history panel, Lot X3413.2006, catalog number 102657932.
    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) 2314 and 3330 disk drives oral history panel, Lot X2800.2004, catalog number 102657930.
    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) 3340 and 3350 disk drives oral history panel, Lot X2718.2004, catalog number 102657933.
    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) 8-inch floppy disk drives oral history panel, 2005, Lot X3174.2005, catalog number 102657926.
    Advanced thin film disk heads oral history panel, Lot X3362.2006, catalog number 102657929.
    Advanced ferrite disk heads oral history panel, Lot X3331.2006, catalog number 102657927.
    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) 5.25 and 3.5-inch floppy drives oral history panel, Lot X3055.2005, catalog number 102657925.
    International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) data cell drive oral history panel, Lot X3047.2005, catalog number 102657934.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Computer storage devices
    Data disk drives
    Data disk drives industry
    Disk/Trend, Inc.
    International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association
    Porter, James N.