Talk:Michael Aldrich

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Clean up tag[edit]

Why has this article been tagged for clean-up? Santanaquintass (talk)

The article needs an infobox and headings and more. Browse WP:Your first article and WP:LAYOUT. There is no need to sweat over the details (formatting the references can be a headache), and there is no rush. A good strategy would be to find a similar article and copy its style. I might get a chance to help later. Johnuniq (talk) 01:02, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. Wilco. Santanaquintass (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 14:04, 14 November 2009 (UTC).


I have done some minor cleaning of the article, and hope to do some more. Here are some issues I encountered. First, editors should read WP:COI. I do not see this currently as a big problem, but it needs to be borne in mind. Second, some references (example: "'Checking out the check-outs' Financial Times London 12 July 1980") are too vague – there should be a page number. Often references can be worked on later, but if a reference is relied on for a WP:REDFLAG claim, then it needs to be precise. Third, some language is non-encyclopedic (example: "many of Aldrich's systems were transformational"): the claims need to be toned down, and a reliable source needs to be given to support them. Fourth, the following is potentially a big problem: See WP:Contact us/Top questions#Can I copy articles from Wikipedia? for the procedures that must be followed to copy an article. Johnuniq (talk) 01:05, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

I have looked at the Archive lift of my original piece. It doesn't seem to add much to their work. I am not a lawyer and don't understand the copyright issues. I have no objection to use of my work though it doesn't look pretty with all the links left in. The Archive editors have been of great help to me and I am sure they will remove the offending piece if asked.
I will tidy some of the other verbiage in due course and try to find the page numbers of the Press Cuttings. There are more references to find as well. Santanaquintass (talk) 04:20, 15 November 2009 (UTC)
I hope you do not mind, but I have indented your response to show that it is a reply to the earlier text. I appreciate that it is difficult to find good documentation on something such as the invention of online shopping (indeed, Invention of radio shows there are still unresolved claims regarding "who invented the radio"). Do you know of any documentation that is independent of Michael Aldrich that verifies who invented online shopping? Do the Financial Times articles relate to that issue (it's not clear in the article what fact is being supported by the articles)? Johnuniq (talk) 07:58, 15 November 2009 (UTC)


I spent several months being sceptical about the claim. Here is what convinced me. There is overwhelming and well documented evidence that Mr Aldrich was a pioneer of online shopping. He didn't invent the case studies, he didn't write them and 'Information Management' had a large circulation. So there is public record and other third party verification. But did he invent it? According to the invention story, which is simple and plausible, some market concept testing was undertaken in New Orleans. In the Archive there is the cover story put out by the company's Press Office to cover the trip and a later reference to it in a Financial Times one page article[January 19 1981] about Mr Aldrich written by Guy de Jonquieres. According to the invention story it was decided to launch the product in April 1980 into the business market. So I decided to look for Press Cuttings around that time that talked about shopping. On 7th July 1980, the first paragraph of the 'Financial Times' report reads: 'If Mike Aldrich is to be believed, the days of the supermarket are numbered. He forsees a future when housewives will do the week's shopping from the comfort of an armchair using a hand-held push-button keypad to order electronically items displayed on their television screens at home.' The piece is in the Press Cuttings section of the Archive. I didn't look any further. The Press Cuttings are massive. I did find in the reference material section of 'Teleputers and Cable' a piece from the Sunday Times about the teleputer that refers to home shopping. In getting a timeline on this invention I looked at Thomson Holidays the first B2B that went live in March 1981. If you backtrack development time, installation and contracting that system had to be ordered in mid-1980 which ties in with the product launch of April 1980 and the fact that there had to be a very cogent sales argument from the beginning. The final piece that I found awesome was the May 1984 TV interview with Mrs Snowball in 'Finding Mrs Snowball.' Four years after the sceptical piece in the Financial Times it was happening exactly as predicted with the largest supermarket in the UK! With inventions you always start with Leonardo drawings. Failing that,you check every browser known to man. The claim is pervasive, it has been out there for some time and I can find no evidence that it has been challenged. It has to be a very strong claim.

Santanaquintass (talk) 15:42, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

No sourcing[edit]

Source these wild claims to multiple "massive" news reporting by independent, third-party reliable sources or they're going to be removed. Press releases do not count. Minor references do not count. His personal websites and archive do not count. I found no independent references about this person and his claims to fame, so please provide credible sources. Flowanda | Talk 10:51, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Ubiquitous Sourcing[edit]

Most of the data in the article is sourced from an archive held by a University. The archive consists in the main of published reports in reputable press and magazines. Not only are the events verifiable, the people involved using the systems are often named and often photographed. The word 'massive' was used to describe the size of the Press Cuttings section in the Archive. The cuttings cover 20 years. The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian may not be well known outside the UK but within the UK they are considered to be independent and reliable. 'Information Management' was published in the UK for about 15 years, had a circulation of around 3000 and was mailed to business leaders and Parliamentary legislators. It is a very reliably sourced article. However, there seems to be an argument raging about Wikipedia Reliable Sources WP:RS and little concensus emerging often as people dance around on a pin top. Coupled with over-enthusiastic editors who seem to have decided that a source has to be in a peer-reviewed journal and anything not conforming thus has to be censored and removed, Wiki is headed into dangerous waters. A simpler, sensible approach would be for local country editors to determine what is a reasonable source [for example, would it stand up to reasonable scepticism?] and for each article to carry a statement as to whether the facts contained therein had been subject to peer review. This would encourage interested academics and avoid one size fits all judgements that are destructive. Santanaquintass (talk) 08:05, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Related issues[edit]

User:Flowanda has removed some claims regarding Michael Aldrich from Home shopping and Online shopping and Electronic commerce. I have noticed some of these claims and they have seemed excessive to me because WP:REDFLAG seems appropriate: exceptional claims require exceptional sources. I see no reason to doubt the basic facts presented in Michael Aldrich, but it is not clear that those facts are sufficient to justify the claim "invented online shopping".

These articles contain or contained related statements:

The information regarding Aldrich has been contributed by users Santanaquinta and Santanaquintas and Santanaquintass and I think some of the text presented by these editors needs to be reviewed. Johnuniq (talk) 10:50, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

I fully concur. Also, there are several other contenders for the title of inventor of online shopping. For example, Stanley Marcus claimed in several interviews in the early 1980s (when videotex was taking off) that he had invented the idea of online shopping back in the early 1960s. As Marcus was actually an accomplished retail executive (he retired as chairman of Neiman Marcus), he would seem to have a much stronger claim than Aldrich. --Coolcaesar (talk) 12:21, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
If you read the Michael Aldrich article it does not say that he invented online shopping, only that he is 'credited with inventing online shopping.' In my piece above I conclude that it is a strong claim, no more. To remove Thomson Holidays as the world's first recorded B2B is patently absurd. How many more sources do we need? Similarly, to cut the link between Cable TV and the story of the new generation cable TV in the Aldrich Archive is silly. If Stanley Marcus invented online shopping where can I find details of his prototype? We need to start a serious discussion. The real problem of course is that most of the online shopping history was not discovered until 2008 so there is no peer reviewed material. In due course there will be. Perhaps someone would like to start Santanaquintass (talk) 15:18, 29 January 2010 (UTC)


There appears to be four issues with Michael Aldrich; provenance, invented online shopping, reliability of sources,and other claims.

  • Provenance - The Aldrich Archive on which the article is based appeared nearly 30 years after some of the key events it records. Little if any of the information had been previously available in digitised form. The Archive itself appears to have been an accident. Aldrich admits to having forgotten about his earlier business career. My information is that the Archive was found, gathered and collated during 2008 with digitisation of about 50% of the first phase completed by the end of 2009. Apparently the hardcopy will become available for general academic use in February/March 2010. A second phase is underway scheduled to complete in 2012/2013 concerned with the people who built and used the systems. There has been no peer-review to-date for obvious reasons. By putting the information in the public domain it must help research and scholarship. There is no commercial motivation.
  • Invented Online Shopping - This is an exceptional claim. It is a fact that Aldrich invented, sold and supported an online shopping system and that it was commercially successful. It is a fact that he was a Pioneer of Online shopping. But perhaps whether or not he invented online shopping is best left for peer review in due course.
  • Reliability of Sources - Given the provenance, the sourcing of the article is very strong. It relies on the Archive where the editors went to some lengths to gather sources. There are few other references to Aldrich anywhere else which is frustrating for some.
  • Other Claims - The Thomson Holdays reference of first recorded B2B can be dealt with in two parts. Firstly, did it happen? There are 4 sources, one of which was quoted in Online Shopping and Elecronic Commerce. The other 3 can be found in the Archive which also has hardcopy of the quoted source but couldn't digitise it for copyright reasons. The second part is, was it the first recorded B2B? That is a fact at the date of writing. Contrary evidence needs to be produced to dis-claim. Editors need specific technical expertise to differentiate between online shopping and e-commerce. Is it important? It was the beginning of a huge world-wide industry. A variant of the system is still used today by the UK travel industry.
  • General - Is some of the information in the article important or exceptional? Here there are historical and potential legal perspectives. It is historically important because it was a step on the way to modern internet commerce. It may become legally interesting because Aldrich did not patent his systems. That might become interesting if later patents are challenged on the grounds of prior art realised in the Aldrich systems. Whatever, the arguments are likely to continue for some timeSantanaquintass (talk) 12:25, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
The fundamental problem is that a lot of the assertions you are inserting into Wikipedia, while potentially interesting, are original research in violation of core policy Wikipedia:No original research. Wikipedia is not a first publisher of original research. That is non-negotiable. The Arbitration Committee and the admins have banned many editors who had argued unsuccessfully for a different policy. --Coolcaesar (talk) 12:47, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
It would be helpful to have a list of the problematical assertions.Santanaquintass (talk) 15:22, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Careful fact-checking should not be confused with original research. In a biography of a living person especially where the provenance is a little unusual and some of the claims are interesting it is particularly important that the facts and sources are thoroughly checked.
  • There is nothing original in the article. All the information has already been published elsewhere and is easily web-accessible. The Aldrich Archive is almost in book form, written in reasonably clear English. It isn't a five drawer filing cabinet.
  • All the contentious assetions are already published in the Archive. For the article, I will attempt to edit according to the comments above about 'invented online shopping.'Santanaquintass (talk) 10:43, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Next, I will edit Online Shopping and Electronic Commerce to keep compatibility plus I will add more references.Santanaquintass (talk) 17:13, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Source per WP:RS or get out of the way[edit]

Your plan needs to include sourcing all these claims per independent, third-party, recognizable, mainstream news reporting that meets WP:RS. The existing self published links, no matter how peer reviewed past, present or future, or related to anything ending in .edu, are not going to support the magnanimous claims made in this and other articles related to this person. Stop trying to argue and justify sources that don't meet Wikipedia policy and help find acceptable sources that do. Flowanda | Talk 11:33, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

I am struggling with the concept that the Financial Times, The Times, the Journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and Independent Television News are not 'independent, third party, recognizable, mainstream new reporting media'. Perhaps you would like to explain?Santanaquintass (talk) 14:32, 6 February 2010 (UTC]
The first three are clearly well-respected third party sources, but the problem is that the vast majority of the citations in the article are not to those sources! --Coolcaesar (talk) 05:31, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
PBS 'Newshour with Jim Lehrer' will be interested to learn that Independent Television News is not a well-respected third party source seeing as they use ITN most nights. Is your statement potentially libellous Please explain.Santanaquintass (talk) 14:42, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Also, the quality of the citations in general is abysmally poor. Nearly all of them are missing correct punctuation, which makes them very, very hard to read. Most of them are missing basic bibliographic information like author, title, publication, city of publication, publisher, and/or year. --Coolcaesar (talk) 05:34, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Where there are ISBN numbers they are quoted. HMSO is 'Her Majesty's Stationery Office' the UK Government's publishing house. The UK Government is based in London, England. The central issue is the status of the Aldrich Archive as a source. This is dealt with below. Can the references to the Archive be improved? Easily, by directly linking with the web-pages quoted which was not done because of Wiki concerns about overlinking. The academics consulted thought the references were easy to follow but the formatting needed tidying.Santanaquintass (talk) 14:42, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
No, you're still avoiding the key issues I raised (apart from the problematic issue of the nature of the Aldrich archive), which is (1) the vast majority of the citations in the article are NOT to the four sources you mentioned, and (2) the quality of the references is so bad that it's difficult to tell which part of what document is being cited. --Coolcaesar (talk) 10:02, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
There are 34 references in Michael Aldrich - 17 are from the Archive, 4 are from reputable broadsheets, 3 are from peer reviewed publications, 4 are UK Government reports, 4 are books, 1 is a City government website and 1 is a University Art Gallery. The reverted edits fromOnline Shopping and Electronic Commerce which cover the three central claims have those references you quote. The newspaper cuttings can be found in date order at Press Cuttings, Aldrich Archive, University of Brighton. There are no paqe numbers. In the Michael Aldrich article other references are also used. There are three central claims - he invented an online shopping system[he actually claims to have invented online shopping, which I left for peer review],Thomson Holidays 1981 was the first recorded B2B and Gateshead SIS/Tesco was the first B2C with the world's first recorded online shopper. For the first claim I found 4 sources in the Press Cuttings plus of course Aldrich's own claims. For the second there are also 4 sources, one peer reviewed. For the third, there is a peer reviewed source and a TV interview by Lawrence McGinty, an acclaimed UK science reporter, broadcast on Independent Television News in the UK in 1984.

In looking at the sources common-sense is needed. Aldrich's teleshopping systems received a very sceptical welcome. HiFi systems were the big news in 1980. Many reports of his new system are wonderfully garbled and a little silly. Few understood what he was talking about. Online shopping did not exist. I experimented with a 14 year old, a fifteen year old and a 64 year old professor to test your objections to the references. Apart from tidying, they thought the references were more than adequate.Santanaquintass (talk) 16:29, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Source per WK:RS Response[edit]

The article Michael Aldrich is a biography of a living person. It relies heavily on the publicly accessible and digitised part of the Aldrich Archive at the University of Brighton. The Archive fits the WK:RS definition of a self-published source. In structure the digitised Archive is a series of essays by Aldrich linking original published material in the main about 100 case studies of IT systems usage, some independent third party material, some collected published papers or public domain speeches, and a large number of Press Cuttings from respected sources listed in month date order but not referenced in the essays. The case studies were written by freelance IT journalists and the clients had final editorial control. The magazine in which they were published over a 15 year period was published by the company where Aldrich was CEO.The so-called claims are made in the essays which are the secondary sources. The WK:RS policy on self-published work states that in some circumstances it can be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in a relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. There are therefore three tests for the Archive as a source; circumstances, established expert and prior publication of relevant work in a reliable publication. The circumstances of the Archive are unusual. See the 'Provenance' paragraph above. Was Aldrich an expert in a relevant field? There is ample evidence that he was. He was an IT expert appointed to advise the UK Government at the highest level. As to prior publication, he wrote a book on videotex and in the foreword the then Secretary of State for Industry and Information Technology wrote that Aldrich was a 'leading videotex practioner'. In Chapter 6 of the book titled 'Consumer Liberation' Aldrich talks about teleshopping [as he called online shopping.]The book until recently could be found in most US university libraries. Aldrich was also later Chairman of the Videotex Industry Association. As another prior publication, Aldrich co-authored a UK Government Report, Cable Systems which, inter alia, talks to home information systems including teleshopping. I concluded that Aldrich met the three tests by a wide margin. My fact-checking was vigorous because I started out as a sceptic and critic. The so-called claims in the Michael Aldrich article are factual,accurate and verifiable. I cannot agee with Flowanda's comments about sourcing, peer review and magnanimous claims in the article.Santanaquintass (talk) 09:43, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

I will now revert to the Edit Plan and bring Online shopping and Electronic Commerce into compliance using the original third party references.Santanaquintass (talk) 14:54, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Your reverted edits have nothing to do with me or my opinions. Carefully review WP:POLICY. Flowanda | Talk 07:17, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Your reversion of my edits to restore my original work are in breach of the Reverting rule which states that if there is a dispute, the status quo reigns until a concensus is established to make a change. My original content should not have been reverted without proper discussion and not following Wiki rules opens the possibility of edit warring. If you believe my work does not comply with Wiki policy WP:POLICY state your specific disagreement and quote WP:POLICY paragraph and sentence so that a reasonble discussion can proceed.Santanaquintass (talk) 20:00, 20 February 2010 (UTC)[edit]

Note: This discussion is related to edits about Aldrich made to other articles, including Online shopping, Electronic commerce, Home shopping, and others.

The subject's own documents, no matter where they are housed or what they include, are not going to be enough to source the claims you are making. Without a reliable source that can be verified, there is no difference between saying Aldrich "invented" something and is "credited with". At best, the latter would be considered "weasel wording", but in this case, you can't source the "credit" to his website or his own documents.

The invention claim is that he 'invented an online shopping system'. Please read the article.Santanaquintass (talk) 08:14, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

However, as this dispute seems to be stalled, I've posted a request at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/ about the use of as a source or for other ways to source the edits you want to make. There are also several other noticeboards to ask for additional editor input or help. Flowanda | Talk 03:19, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

The noticeboard is a good idea. The case for the Archive as a reliable source has been made above and has not been substantively challenged. Some more input would be very useful.Santanaquintass (talk) 08:14, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
There is a longer list of articles, with comments, above. Johnuniq (talk) 03:40, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
You will recall that the Edit Plan is to reach concensus on the Michael Aldrich article and then bring the other articles into complianceSantanaquintass (talk) 08:30, 21 February 2010 (UTC)Santanaquintass (talk) 14:18, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
I think we need to provide some links to documents/pages within the archive website that can be used to verify the info. Linking directly to scan of published articles or Google Docs would probably be problematic in the main space (i.e. articles), but if they were listed and discussed on talk pages, then they might be helpful in using the archive as a reference. Flowanda | Talk 23:43, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

I have been trying to make some time to tidy up the references and have been wondering what to do about the Archive references. Using the talk page to dissect the archive references is a good idea. I just need to figure out a format that will work. I plan to start work on March 4th.Santanaquintass (talk) 15:23, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Club 403[edit]

I've noticed these references added to the Prestel article on which I have been contributing, which is why I ended up here.. In another Prestel related project, I have been scanning and archiving material related to "Club 403". In 1985, they were proclaiming they had launched the "worlds first armchair grocer" by 1984, offering online shopping of groceries, meat and veg, etc, via Prestel. This was a project run by Viewtel Services Ltd, sister co.of the Birmingham Post & Mail. Scans of the original documents, which I hold, are available [here]. FWIW there is no mention of Mr Aldrich.Robirrelevant (talk) 22:33, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

There is a difference between e-commerce and online shopping. In the latter the buyer is directly connected to the seller's computer and transactions take place online in real-time. I think the Viewtel service which used the Prestel system was an e-commerce system but still very innovative for the time. From what I have read Aldrich was not involved in Prestel systems. He called his system a 'private system.' He seems to have decided early on that the viewdata television was really a terminal for real-time transaction processing[which was his background]. He merely borrowed the chip set and created a different type of system. I am currently researching Prestel Gateway which looks like an attempt to copy the Aldrich networking technique and the French Minitel which came later which also permitted some online real-time working. I think I have also seen references of other Prestel services similar to Viewtel. There was much experimentation at the time. The Aldrich Archive has a good flavour of the Aldrich systems including his inventor's story. Santanaquintass (talk) 15:23, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
I presume the distinction is between real-time reaction to the shopping requests, and just accepting messages requesting an action? However the two-way capability of Prestel and viewdata generally was already being discussed openly as facilitating "an electronic shopping service", and "all kinds of personal or financial transactions" (I presume Banking) in a book already published in 1979 - "Teletext and Viewdata, Steve A Money" ISBN 0408005971 p144 (or ISBN 0408003782) (It also talked about holding conferences via viewdata! Now if that's not real-time I don't know what is.) Robirrelevant (talk) 19:54, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
The Prestel system did not provide real-time file up-date except in IP editing mode. Prestel could not do real-time transaction processing. This was a fundamental design issue. It had originally been designed to be CEEFAX down a telephone line. Prestel used a number of discrete computers located aroung the UK each with a replica data base. If it had been capable of real-time transaction processing it likely would have survived. My understanding to-date is that Prestel people recognised the problem. BT,owners of Prestel, bought one of Aldrich's systems which can be found in 'Innovative Information Systems' in the Archive. I think Prestel Gateway was meant to provide inter-connection to transaction processing systems direct from a viewdata terminal and I think that may have appeared in the mid-1980s but I am still trying to verify that. The reason that Aldrich's systems caused such interest in 1980 when launched is because they were real-time transaction processing systems.It is also the reason why he kept his development work secret. Viewdata/Prestel caused much speculation at launch. It was novel and often totally misunderstood. There was lots of ill informed but well intentioned speculation of what it could or could not do. That is why case studies of real working private videotex systems systems are so valuable. We can know what people actually did with them. The French were luckier with Minitel. It came after Prestel and the key difference was that it had a gateway to a packet-switching datacom network. Eventually it enabled Minitel to connect to third-party real-time transaction processing systems and by the 1990s Minitel offered a very useful internet-like service. Some say that is why the internet/www was slow to take off in France but there may have been other reasons.I think the Prestel article provides a clear explanation of Prestel. The basic concept was one Up-date Centre and Multiple Information Retrieval Centres.Santanaquintass (talk) 20:59, 27 February 2010 (UTC) Santanaquintass (talk) 20:47, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
The British Telecom 'Minder' system is at (talk) 21:10, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
Fixing formatting of several sections for easier readability. Flowanda | Talk 04:05, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Michael Aldrich - Guide to References[edit]

I had intended to write a piece on the history of the teleputer, the fusion of PC/Television and Telephone, along the lines of 'iconic product from the birth of the IT Age when three great industries collided.' In Spring 2008, an open development site appeared with details of the invention of the teleputer back in 1980. The development site spasmodically and randomly posted new information that told stories of inventions and achievements that seemed surreal. Around the Spring of 2009 the website became In December 2009 it was formally opened to the public although I think it had always been open. Somewhere along the way I dropped my teleputer project and set out to disprove the archive stories. There are huge problems fact-checking these stories. The two biggest problems are that 'Information Management' had no ISBN number, for no apparent reason. Secondly the period 1977-1985 is poorly digitised. It also doesn't help that Aldrich's company had three different names in the 1980-1984 period nor the fact that the period was full of hype, spin, mis-information and techno-babble. Later in 2009 the archive posted a section on press cuttings in year/month date order. They are not referenced in the text of the essays and there are other press cuttings elsewhere in the archive. It is unlikely that the press cuttings are complete. But it was a start.I decided to write an introductory biographical piece. There are 34 references in the article, half from the digitised archive. Around 50% of the archive is digitised. The key claims I tried to source from third parties. The references are dealt with sequentially as they appear in the article. I will tidy the references in the article itself later. For now there will be an audit trail.

1.Biography,Aldrich Archive University of Brighton 2009 [[1]]The article is largely built around the bio because it is the best available list of facts.The facts are accurate except for the names of some professional organizations that have changed in recent years. I noticed the Companionship of the Chartered Management Institute. This is by invitation only and is reserved for 'Captains of Industry.' Back in 1986 Aldrich would have been around 45 and well-regarded.

2.Checking on the check-outs, Financial Times London July 12 1980 [[2]] The FT doesn't generally do computer product launches. In this piece the FT is reporting on the launch of a model within a range! On the same web-page above the veteran technology editor of The Times of London can be seen muddling 'videotex' with 'video sets' and the canny Computer Weekly writer spotted that the important news was the IBM 3270 emulation for videotex terminals/televisions. All the newspapers were reporting the same event! But the notable words are in the FT piece:

If Mike Aldrich is to be believed the days of the supermarket are numbered. He foresees a future when housewives will do their week's shopping from the comfort of an armchair using a hand-held push-button keypad to order items electronically displayed on their television sets at home.

In May 1984, less than 4 elapsed years, Mrs Snowball was doing exactly that for real on network television. The reference proves Aldrich was selling online shopping in 1980. The other pieces on the above web-page prove he could network his systems and that his systems were easily mis-characterized. The sceptical dis-belief of the FT also shows that no-one else was selling online shopping. Finally, the essays by Aldrich that are the spine of the archive do not refer to the cuttings except in one or two specific cases. The press cuttings were posted months after the essays.

3,4,5 These are all Teleputer References 3.1981 Large.PThe Thing has arrived and guess what-it's British Teleputer. The Guardian London September 30 1981.[[3]] 5.1981 Charlish.G Enter the Teleputer,all purpose information tool. Financial TimesLondon October 2 1981[[4]] 4.1981 Price C Living by Numbers. The Sunday Times Colour SupplementLondon September 21 1981 [[5]]

6.The Case Studies Aldrich Archive There are around 100 digitised case studies. The main ones referred to in the article are; Online Shopping Pioneers [[6]] and Innovative Information Systems[[7]]

7.1988 Palmer C Using IT for competitive advantage at Thomson Holidays. Long Range Planning Vol 21, No6, p26-29-Institute of Strategic Studies JournalLondon- Pergamon Press[now Elsevier.b.v] December 1988. This is the peer reviewed version of the Thomson Holidays project. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Santanaquintass (talkcontribs) 15:38, 4 March 2010 (UTC)Santanaquintass (talk) 15:43, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

8,9 These two references relate to Gateshead online shopping. 8.The Incorporated Engineer piece can be found at [[8]] Note that a picture of Mrs Snowball is on the page plus a picture of Aldrich organising the information system for the G8 Economic Summit! The original story is at [[9]] 9.The City of Gateshead organised an event to mark the 25th anniversary.[[10]] Also there is the story of finding Mrs Snowball[[11]] At this web-page there is also the ITN interview with Mrs Snowball in May 1984 reported by Lawrence McGinty their distinguished science journalist. This is the world's first recorded B2C online shopping system. With the earlier FT piece and all the other sources it makes an extremely strong case that Aldrich invented online shopping. In 30 years, online shopping was never patented. It was never claimed. Aldrich's claim has never been challenged in spite of being pervasive in cyberspace.

10. Pioneer Case Studies The Nissan Story. This can be found at[[12]] This story written in 1988 is little short of amazing.From around 1984/1985 Nissan had not only been doing B2B online shopping but had also been selling Finance to buyers and doing online credit ratings authorizations. No wonder they took time to disclose this story! This may be the first B2C for high value consumer durables.

11.UAPT/ INFOLINK. Innovative Information Systems, Aldrich Archive [[13]] Taken with the Nissan story this piece explains how the online real-time credit rating was done. This was awesome for the time.

12.Introduction, Innovative Information Systems, Aldrich Archive.[[14]] Para 9 Nissan's exploits obviously became known and Aldrich claims to have supplied systems to other Finance Companies under confidentiality agreements.

13. This is a peer reviewed study of the Gateshead shopping from a social science viewpoint. The system was designed for old folk lacking mobility.

14. The Aldrich book on Videotex. Available from some University Libraries or on Amazon. This is a small book full of big ideas, not an easy read. The interesting fact is that he wrote down his vision and then tried to implement it, with partial success. Chapter 6 is 'Consumer Liberation' which he thought consumers would achieve with online shopping. ISBN 0 907621 120.

15. Cable Systems is a UK Government report that bears strong similarities to the Aldrich book. It caused the law to be changed and for the UK to be re-cabled with broadband modern cable systems. The Cable Story tells his version.[[15]]

16. Reference to [[16]]

17.Reference to [[17]]]]

18.Reference to [[18]] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Santanaquintass (talkcontribs) 17:40, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

19.Reference to [[19]]

20.Reference to[[20]]

21.Reference to[[21]]

22.Reference to [[22]]

23.Reference to[[23]] Santanaquintass (talk) 18:00, 4 March 2010 (UTC) Santanaquintass (talk) 18:15, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

24.Reference to [[24]]

25.1982 Aldrich M co-author Cable Systems London HMSO ISBN 011 6308214

26.Reference to [[25]]

27.1983 Aldrich M co-author Making a Business of Information London HMSO ISBN 011 6308249

28.1986 Aldrich M co-author Learning to Live with IT London HMSO HMSO ISBN 011 6308311

29,30,31,32 As written

33.Reference to [[26]]

34. Reference to [[27]] Santanaquintass (talk) 18:59, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Brighton University has launched Phase 2 of the archive project.[[28]] It seems that the best way to tidy the Aldrich Archive references in the aricle may be to link them directly to the web-pages to which they refer. This is not the favoured Wiki method but it makes a complicated article accessible and understandable. The other references will also e tidied.Santanaquintass (talk) 21:50, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
Important history of IT article. Exceptional everywhichway. Claims in the archive modest and evidence based - should not be downgraded in the article. Lucky Brighton Uni - this is a research goldmine ITGeek93 (talk) 20:16, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Great article.Looking at the corpus of work in the Michael Aldrich archive, bigger claims could easily be made. See April 1983 Crawley Observer piece "All plugged in" by Trevor French which is astonishing for 1983 in a little local paper. It also shows that Aldrich had a working supermarket online shopping system a year before Mrs Snowball Digimediabro420 (talk) 15:45, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
We are on the same page. Online Shopping is dessert. The entrée is that Michael Aldrich conceptualised IT [through videotex] as a new mass communications medium around 1980, years [10-15?] before anyone else. He published [we need to know when and where the collected papers were published], built and sold working systems, and invented the teleputer and the concept of interactive broadband cable for mass communications. In 1990 Berners-Lee created a browser for Arpanet to make the internet/www, PCs and cell phones later became smaller and smarter and thus we have the modern IT world. Doesn’t that make Aldrich a Founding Father? And isn’t that what Santanaquintass is concluding? ITGeek93 (talk) 15:20, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree but there are still other potential claims. There is also evidence to show that Michael Aldrich knew the long term implicatons of what he was doing. This is an amazing find - tenacious scholarship of a complex subject Digimediabro420 (talk) 18:56, 29 March 2010 (UTC)
ITGeek93 nailed it.Precisely.Brilliantly. Thank you. I did't see it until a month ago when I found the quote. Aldrich saw Information Technology as a mass communications medium. That explains the mass communication inventions including online shopping, the teleputer and interactive broadband cable and other inventions [Digimediabro420].The key to understanding him is to look at what he wrote and published when he was doing it.My guess is that he may have confirmed this mass communications medium concept in New Orleans, La, in September 1979 when he showed his prototype. Whatever, he is emerging as a giant. He didn't just change world commerce but his ideas changed the way we live. Confirmation by the professionals in publications is the next step.For the article, I regret downgrading the online shopping claim- no justification -and to have changed 'transformational' to 'innovative' is just plain embarrasssing. I also need to do some re-phrasing to better explain the 'new communications medium.' Many thanks for your help.Santanaquintass (talk) 13:49, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Very good. This article will be plagiarised forever. When the collected papers publication info becomes available it will be possible to see the reach of his ideas ITGeek93 (talk) 17:57, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree though we will have to rewrite the course. Well done.Digimediabro420 (talk) 14:15, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with ITGeeK93. Also why leave out the Soviet stuff? Michael Aldrich worked for Thatcher, Reagan's best buddy, yet he helped Moscow with 1980 Olympics and 1981 Gas pipeline that Regan tried to stop and then he organised the info system for the 1984 G8 Economic Summitt in London, the Thatcher/Reagan show, as well as the Pope's visit to Poland. He was trading round the Sovblock at the height of the Cold War working for Thatcher. Strange! Needs to be mentioned at least. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Geap1tac (talkcontribs) 15:57, 2 April 2010 (UTC) I could find no info on the politics of the Sovblock trading but I will mention the trade in the text. I suspect that it is a huge subject in need of research. I saw the 1979 system for Gosbank [think Federal Reserve in Washington] for collecting all the key financial and economic data for the whole USSR- the year the USSR invaded Afghanistan and Reagan announced the Olympic boycott.Santanaquintass (talk) 13:45, 3 April 2010 (UTC) To add to my humbling experiences I found an October 1982 review of Aldrich's book by the only person, I suspect, who understood what he was saying. From New York of course. (talk) 13:45, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

As an employee of ROCC/Reddifusion computers during most of the 1980's I had extensive experiance in the manufacturing and testing of product that was being shipped to russia and what was then Czechoslovakia. This was done through the building and testing of R range systems which were then dismantled and shipped as parts. Engineers from the Soviet union attended the ROCC training school in Crawley, where they learnt the skills to assemble and support the full systems. In the Crawley manufacturing department we had to carry out modification to the technology to slow it down so it met the necessary CoCom requirements. Typically timing circuits for process boards were slowed and encapsulated in epoxy resin to reduce the chance of conversion back to full speed.

This article stinks of ORIGINAL RESEARCH[edit]

This article and many recent edits to other articles by User:Santanaquintass smell of original research in violation of WP:NOR. Aldrich is a historical footnote and Santanaquintass's edits place undue weight (in violation of WP:UNDUE) on Aldrich's accomplishments as well as the accomplishments of the early 1980s videotex developers. Historians of computing generally consider the 1980s videotex developers to be yet another sad example of the rule that the price of innovation is the courage to fail. That is, the history of videotex technology is notable only insofar as it shows how NOT to try to do e-commerce. If Santanaquintass truly believes that Aldrich has been unjustifiably ignored or marginalized by historians of computing and computer science, he is always free to publish a properly researched article in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, then cite to that article on Wikipedia. But it is improper to abuse Wikipedia to bring attention to a man who has not earned attention (either from the news media or academia) in his own right. Staving off the abuse of Wikipedia for the promotion of non-notable men and women (Jim Carrey would use the l-word for them) is one of the major objectives of the core policies Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, which are non-negotiable. Aldrich's accomplishments pale in comparison to true intellectual giants like Douglas Engelbart, Vinton Cerf, or Tim Berners-Lee. --Coolcaesar (talk) 07:12, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I totally agree, and I see that like me you noticed this before (I listed the related articles and four accounts above). If you ever feel like jumping in and removing text that is not suitably referenced, I will try to help. Johnuniq (talk) 07:42, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
So help, already. None of the claims made about Michael Aldrich here and elsewhere have yet to be supported by WP:RS, and I'm tired of being bullied by these editors who have had free reign to add and readd whatever content and sourcing they want to whatever and however many articles they want. Please do more than try to help; please actually help. Flowanda | Talk 10:14, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
I have updated Related issues (above) with a link to another page (Business marketing) containing claims similar to those in this article. It appears that the only source for the claims consists of which cannot be regarded as an independent or reliable source because it is registered to a company associated with Aldrich ( whois). Apparently the archive has been donated to a university, but until the university publishes the material and endorses its claims, there is no reliability from the university. My own feeling is that it is likely that many of the factual statements at aldricharchive are valid, but the interpretations and claims are highly dubious because many people experimented with primitive forms of computers and digital communication, and it is very unclear whether the development of online shopping or business-to-business commerce would have been any different if Aldrich had never performed his work.
I have started pruning out unsourced claims at Business marketing, Home shopping, Michael Aldrich and Online shopping. Johnuniq (talk) 04:27, 13 July 2010 (UTC)


Is the Aldrich Archive a reliable source? See WK:RS above. Aldrich is,I suspect,an expert on the subject matter of the facts, the claims, the interpretation and the context. Is the digitised a reliable source? The hard copy of the Archive is owned by the University of Brighton and held at the Aldrich Library. ROCC Computers have digitised about 50% of the Archive and the web-site is currently in the company's name. When finished around 2013 the web-site will revert to the University. The digitised archive includes essays by Aldrich linked in the main to published material. Is there 3rd party support for the claims? There is 3rd Party support for the facts. The claims are made by Aldrich and are unchallenged by any authoritative source. Are the facts verifiable? No-one has challenged the facts. The evidence is overwhelming. Phase 2 of the Archive project is gathering contributions from people involved with building and using the system, very much a living history project. Why isn't Aldrich in the history books already? This is an awkward and inconvenient issue for everyone. No-one really knows. Some reasons could be: the material only started to appear in web-accessible form in 2008 and became public in December 2009 with little publicity: Videotex was a technological dead-end and people confuse the technology with the applications that used it: most of the published material about Aldrich is in non-digitised form: Aldrich was not mainstream big computer industry: 'Information Management' had no ISBN numbers. He was UK not US. Or perhaps he didn't matter so no-one mentioned him. Surprisingly,I could not even find a footnote. Are the claims and interpretations reasonable? Freedom of expressions means that everyone is entitled to personal opinions. Encyclopedias however deal with facts. Aldrich however has to be translated to be understood, not unusual in historical subjects. Aldrich invented what he called 'teleshopping,' Today it is called 'online shopping.' Aldrich invented business-to-business transaction processing. Today it is called e-commerce. Aldrich's system could do much more than transaction processing between businesses and he advocated such applications. Today that is called 'e-business.' One could say that there is a horseless carriage problem with the language. And he was 20-30 years ahead of the curve in a foreign country. Is my work 'original research?' So far it has been called many things from 'scholarshop' to 'journalism.' I think scholarshop sounds about right. Sadly there is nothing original but I think I did well on translation and I did read most of the stuff although I eventually became bored. Why the rush to judgement to excise him from Wikipedia? I can find no credible authoritative source to support such unilateral editorial action although I do understand that he is very unpopular with some parties involved in patent suits. It is inconvenient and awkward that not only did Aldrich appear to accomplish so much but also he had the temerity to provide evidence 30 years on. That doesn't justify a pruning expedition that is both inappropriate and ultimately futile. If there is evidence to the contrary about the Aldrich claims and their interpretation, please present it and discuss it here. If you want to disagrre with the claims for the sake of it, please do so but we can't have an intelligent discussion without evidence. In the meantime please restore the cuts. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Santanaquintass (talkcontribs) 12:44, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia will not declare that X did something using X as a reference. The policy is verifiability, and the guideline is identifying reliable sources. Arguments on Wikipedia must be based on policy.
You will not be able to use Wikipedia to set the facts straight on any issue because that is original research. Saying that X invented something is a big claim, and WP:REDFLAG applies: the sources to verify the statement need to be more than ok, they have to be particularly good (independently published, reputation for fact checking and responding to corrections).
You may have a conflict of interest with this topic and should read WP:COI. The articles you have edited, with trivial exceptions, are devoted to the topic of Aldrich: Business marketing, Business-to-business, Cable television, Electronic commerce, Home shopping, Infomercial, Michael Aldrich, Online shopping, Prestel, Rediffusion, Tesco, Thomson Holidays, University of Brighton, Videotex, Webstore. Johnuniq (talk) 04:23, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

We are back to the February 2010 positions. My understanding of the individual stances is: Flowanda, Rejects Aldrich Archive as a Reliable Source. Discussion over. Remove everything. Johnuniq, silent on Aldrich Archive as a Reliable Source. Believes the facts [as opposed to the claims/interpretations] could be accurate. Coolcaesar, thinks it is all basically junk original research in violation of multiple Wiki policies. Santanaquintass, believes the Aldrich Archive is a Reliable Source complying with WK:RS, has lifted the disputed claims/interpretations from the Aldrich Archive, noted there are no claims/interpretations found to the contrary but agrees that the big claims/interpretations should be independently verified. Hopefully this is a fair summation. Apologies if not. The central issue is still the same. Does the Aldrich Archive comply with Wk:RS at least for facts? If not, no Archive-no story. If yes, the claims/interpretations can be put aside until there is independent verification. If we can agree then we can negotiate wording. 'Invented, world first, revolutionary' for example can be replaced with words like 'developed, pioneered, produced, innovated' etc can be used pending independent verification. The problems with wording should not be underestimated. 'Predecessor' is an unsourced claim or interpretation. Words and phrases however well-intended don'y always work as planned. If we can't agree that the Aldrich Archive is a Reliable Source for facts then we should take that specific issue to a higher authority for resolution, await the result and abide by it. Please advise your positions —Preceding unsigned comment added by Santanaquintass (talkcontribs) 17:27, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

It's WP:RS which is actually now WP:IRS. Please take a bit more time to read my previous message. You will then see that my statement "Wikipedia will not declare that X did something using X as a reference" is asserting that aldricharchive is absolutely not a reliable source in the context we are discussing. Actually, it is just a website. I believe that it is not a hoax, but there is actually no evidence for that (to spell that point out, it would be possible for someone to have setup that website with a lot of plausible material, while the content is actually 95% made up; we have had more elaborate hoaxes in the past). Look at the REDFLAG link in my previous comment: big claims need multiple highly reliable sources. If you are not happy with "predecessor", we can omit the claim altogether. Johnuniq (talk) 23:14, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Teleputer origins/Teleshopping[edit]

As a test/manufacturing engineer working at Rediffusion/ROCC in the 1980, I spent a lot of time on the teleputer, both II & III and my partical one was, one of the wirewrap prototyes which was made by Mullard-Philips in Mitcham. All of the original technical specifications and drawing were also marked as Mullard-Phillips. I know they were key in the development of the teletxt decoding modules, but I'm also fairly sure they were instrumental in the invention and design of the machines. The statement that they could receive terrestrial television is also incorrect, as highlighted in the next paragraph, because the 14" "TV" had no tuner and just utilised RGB inputs. These TVs were standard, surplus 14" portables from elsewhere in the Rediffusion group. Later units were shipped with other makes of monitors as the low cost source dried up. At the same time that the teleputers and later Amstrad PC, linked to R range minis was being sold to the likes of Nissan, Ford etc, teleshopping/banking was being offered as gateway products on Prestel, in the form or the Bank of Scotland banking (see homelink on prestel page), Kays catalogue, to list just the two I was using. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:49, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Inventor of Online Shopping[edit]

The BBC recently talked about Michael Aldrich and his Gateshead project in a TV documentary and also published an article at and has been picked up by the independant

If anyone has the time to verify that these are accepted sources and wishes to edit the article to replace the poor references to Mr Aldrichs own website then please do.Flibblesan (talk) These sources are fabulous.The BBC news magazine contains a clip from the TV program showing the world,s first online shopper completing a transaction. The BBC had found some 1984 news film footage. In other words the Brits had not only invented online shopping, they had also TELEVISED it on network news in 1984! The clip also has an interview with Michael Aldrich who they describe as the 'inventor of videotex online shopping' and in their magazine they describe as the 'Father of Online Shopping.' The BBC effectively confirm the 'Michael Aldrich' article in Wickipedia and also the veracity of the Aldrich Archive. The references made by the main article are not poor. For anyone who has studied the Archive it will be clear that it consists mainly of third party material collected by Michael Aldrich and others and linked through essays by Aldrich to explain the meaning.

It was interesting to read in the BBC article a quote by an academic from the Brighton Business School saying of the world's first online shopper 'It really was a momentous landmark.' It was and now we know.20:37, 29 November 2013 (UTC)RYE350SE (talk)