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Over the last 23 years ASHRAE has made dramatic progresstowards the use of the electronic communication/publicationtechnology and the internet for technical Societypublications and communications.

Prior to 1976 publications were created on a society mainframecomputer at headquarters and distribution was only bypaper copies. The development of desktop personal computersin the 1980’s led Steve Comstock, ASHRAE Publisher, to startinvestigating and adopting workstations, computers and softwareto better handle the highly technical literature ASHRAEwas producing. In 1987 ASHRAE Research Project RP 457created the first ASHRAE electronic CD product—“Update ofthe Bibliography of Available Computer Programs in the areaof HVAC&R”. From this first electronic publication to today’s24/7 use of the internet ASHRAE Society electronic communicationhas been transformed beyond anything imaginable23+ years ago.

During this time, prior to 1990, ASHRAE relied primarilyon the United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEX for overnightdeliveries, fax and the telephone for Society communications,since the Society’s technical literature was not easilyaccessible to all members electronically. Then, beginning inJune of 1995, ASHRAE’s entry onto the internet was officiallybegun with the appointment of the first Electronic CommunicationAd Hoc Committee (ECAHC) by ASHRAE PresidentRichard Hayter, followed shortly thereafter by ASHRAE’s firstofficial web page appearance in October 1995 and announcementin the November 1995 ASHRAE Journal.

The first ECAHC was followed by a second ECAHCappointed in 1996 by ASHRAE President James Hill. Thesefirst two ECAHCs were assigned the task of reviewing, prioritizingand recommending ASHRAE’s first policies and guidelinesthat would move ASHRAE into the rapidly evolving worldof internet-based communications, including the paralleldevelopment of ASHRAE’s first web page. This paper presentsan historical review of these early developments to help documenthow ASHRAE moved rapidly to a web-based existencefrom the previous paper-based existence, and attempts toinclude recognition for the key ASHRAE members andASHRAE Staff who made this all possible.