Fonds PAR - Douglas Parkhill fonds

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Douglas Parkhill fonds

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CA ON00419 PAR

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1970-1988, 1999 (Creation)
    Parkhill, Douglas F., 1923-1995

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Physical description

1 linear metre of textual records and other material

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Name of creator

(1923-12-19 - 1995)

Biographical history

Douglas Freeman Parkhill was born on 19 December 1923. He received a bachelors in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto in 1949. From 1949 to 1951 he worked for Canadian Comstock Corporation on the frequency change from 25 to 60 cycles in southern Ontario. He worked with Computing Devices of Canada Ltd. in Ottawa as a systems engineer. He was briefly with AVCO of Canada Limited in Toronto as a Supervisor of Engineering before going to AVCO Corporation in Wilmington, Massachusetts, as Deputy Manager of the Computer and Electronic Systems Department. In 1958 Parkhill became chief engineer of the Advanced Development Department for General Dynamics Corporation in Rochester, New York. Working for MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts, from 1961-69, he eventually became head of its Satellite Communications Systems.

In September 1969 Parkhill joined the federal Department of Communications in Ottawa as Director General of Policy, Plans and Programs Branch. He became Assistant Deputy Minister (Planning) in 1970 and was responsible for the Canadian Computer Communication Policy. He was also the OECD Panel on Computer Communications Policy which advised governments on changes brought about by computerization.

Parkhill’s final position with the department was as Assistant Deputy Minister (Research) starting in 1974. He was responsible for communication satellites, computer communications, the development of fibre-optic networks, image communications etc. Parkhill was one of the forces behind the development of Telidon, a Canadian public-private videotex and teletext system. Parkhill received the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Government of Canada in 1982 for his work in this area. He died in 1995.

Parkhill was the author of numerous talks and articles between 1956 and 1984 on the evolving role and challenges of computers, computer networks, communication technologies and the role of the federal government in these areas. He also produced fifty-some classified reports on military information systems, military space systems, satellite control systems and other topics. Parkhill was author of The Challenge of Computer Utility (1966) and with Dave Godfrey, wrote Gutenberg Two: The New Electronics and Social Change (1979).

After Parkhill retired from government service in April 1984, he received a contract from the Deputy Minister of Communications to write a history of the development of the videotex/teletext industry in Europe, Asia, the US and Canada. His manuscript on the development of Telidon “The Beginning of a Beginning” was completed in 1987.

Custodial history

Donated to the Museum in 1999.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of Parkhill’s curriculum vitae and copies of his articles and presentations on computer communication, Telidon and videotext 1978-1985. Parkhill’s files on informatics while he was Assistant Deputy Minister (Research) with the federal Department of Communications from 1974 until his retirement in 1984 which includes published and unpublished reports. Parkhill’s correspondence and 91 audio tapes of recorded interviews with leaders in the videotext and teletext fields in Europe, North America and Far East that led to his manuscript “The Beginning of a Beginning” (1985). A large series on informatics including correspondence, articles, published and unpublished reports and studies covering videotex, teletext and Telidon 1972-1988. Subject files covering computerization and office communications systems (OCS). Also some photos of Parkhill receiving awards and his retirement.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The material is organized into six series. Trade literature has been transferred to the Library of the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

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Restrictions on access

No restrictions for research purposes.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

As there are no release forms for the oral interviews, researchers will have to contact the interviewees for permission to reuse the recordings.

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Associated materials

The Government of Canada's Department of Communications fonds is at Library and Archives Canada. See, for example, RG97-B Central Registry files of Offices of the Assistant Deputy Minister, Research and the Director of Telidon Program.

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Physical description

Includes: 1 linear metre of textual records, 46 slides, 33 photographic prints, and 91 audio cassettes.

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Archival description by Larry McNally; slight revisions and entry into Archeion by Adele Torrance.

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