I've been working through and writing up preliminary descriptions of Fr. Ong's research, address, teaching, and bibliography cards. Off hand, as I haven't kept a running total, I wouldn't be surprised if there are over 20,000 of them, and I'm certain that there are over 15,000. I haven't been counting individual cards but "items" which may be an individual card or a bundle of cards. Judging by thickness, I'm sure a few bundles number more than 50 cards; however most bundles are just two or three cards stapled together. In with the cards are small printed materials, a few notes/letters, cartoons, and the like. There are also a number of cross-reference cards. It's a true index card database. Many of the research cards have dates, ranging from the early 1940s to the mid-80s, though most of the cards date from the 1950s and 1960s.
It'd be wonderful to digitize all these cards, but I doubt that will happen, at least not any time soon. To be fair, there's just a lot to do to get the collection ready for use. But I think people will find it interesting to find "commerce" research cards dating to the early 1960s (or not, if you're familiar with Ong's work from the period), "computer language" cards dating from 1965.
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