An archeological breakthrough: Early SAS conference proceedings


rtist rendering of early SUGI plotsIn the computer software industry, 35 years is like an eon.

I mean, 35 years ago, the computing power that I carry around within my mobile phone didn't even exist all in one place; but if it did, it would have filled an entire building.

That's why the recent posting of SAS conference papers from 1976-1996 (on is a little bit like uncovering cave paintings from a bygone era. They might not yield information about advanced technology we can use today, but they sure can teach us a lot about where we've been.

I'm proud to say that I wrote one of the papers that appears in this archive. It's at the tail-end of the covered range: SUGI 21 in 1996. The topic is implementing native help for SAS/AF applications on OS/2 and Windows. That paper established me as one of the world's top experts in the subject for a little while, and I received questions on the topic for maybe 5 years after its publication. But the interest has died off since those days, and I have to admit that I feel relieved about that.

Congratulations to Rich La Valley and the team for bringing this content together. The SAS Global Users Group (like SAS itself) is rich with "institutional history", and the availability of these proceedings is a great way to show that off.


About Author

Chris Hemedinger

Director, SAS User Engagement

+Chris Hemedinger is the Director of SAS User Engagement, which includes our SAS Communities and SAS User Groups. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies


  1. Rich La Valley on

    This effort was part of an ongoing effort by the Executive Board of the SAS Global Users Group to enhance the user experience. The was the first venture beyond the conference and putting the proceedings was the second major effort.

    The archives of the SUGI/SAS Global Forum is quite interesting how you can see the important part that SAS Users have played in the evolution of SAS products. I have been able to trace the genesis of some of the products such as ACCESS to early papers at SUGI where users needed to get data from their databases and built interfaces to them to SAS.

    It is a facinating historical archive and I am sure users will find it equally enlightening. The proceedings are available on as a "virtual bookself" and on Lex Jansen's site with his author and tile search capability.

    We are hoping to improve the "virtual bookshelf" view for the users so if others have ideas on how to provide new ways to access the data, please let us know. I have already been toying with the idea of having a search by SAS PROC and also search by Industry. It is quite interesting how the mappings come out.

  2. Don Henderson on

    And for those authors who are still involved with SAS, they can create articles on that organize/discuss/update their prior papers. Might be kinda amusing to get explanations as to why things had to be done in a certain way. I think my first two papers (dating myself here) were SUGI 78. Before the current macro facility - and yea, before the ELSE statement .

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