The_Source_(online_service)

The Source (online service)

The Source (Source Telecomputing Corporation) was an early online service, one of the first such services to be oriented toward and available to the general public. The Source was in operation from 1979 to 1989, when it was purchased by rival CompuServe and discontinued sometime thereafter. The Source, based in McLean, Virginia, was owned for most of its existence by Readers' Digest and Control Data Corporation.

At its peak, it had 80,000 members. During much of its existence it charged a startup fee of about $100 and hourly usage rates on the order of $10 per hour. It provided news sources, weather, stock quotations, a shopping service, electronic mail, various databases, online text of magazines, and airline schedules. It also had a newsgroup-like facility known as PARTICIPATE (or PARTI), which was developed by Participation Systems of Winchester, Massachusetts. PARTICIPATE provided what it called "many to many" communications, or computer conferencing, and hosted "Electures" on The Source, such as Paul Levinson's "Space: Humanizing the Universe" in the spring of 1985.

Intended for use with 300 bit/s and 1200 bit/s dial-up telephone connections, The Source was text-based for most of its existence.

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