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The Bell System Technical Journal was a periodical publication by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in New York devoted to the scientific and engineering aspects of electrical communication.[1] It was published under this name from 1922 until 1983, when the breakup of the Bell System placed various parts of the system into separate companies.

Bell System Technical Journal  
Publication details
Publication history
American Telephone and Telegraph Company
FrequencyQuarterly (1922–1951), Monthly (1952–1995)
Standard abbreviations
Bell Syst. Tech. J.
OCLC no.6313803

After the restructuring of the Bell Laboratories in 1984, the Bell System Technical Journal was renamed to AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Journal. From 1985 to 1996 it was published under the title AT&T Technical Journal.

In 1996, the journal was revamped under the name Bell Labs Technical Journal as the in-house scientific journal for scientists of Nokia Bell Labs, and is published yearly by the IEEE society.



The Bell System Technical Journal was published by AT&T in New York City through its Information Department, in behalf of Western Electric Company and the Associated Companies of the Bell System.[1] The first issue was released in July 1922, under the editorship of R.W. King and an eight-member editorial board. From 1922 to 1951, the publication schedule was quarterly. It was bimonthly until 1964, and finally produced ten monthly issues per year until the end of 1983, combining the four summer months into two issues in May and July.

Publication of the journal under the name Bell System Technical Journal ended with Volume 62 by the end of 1983, because of the divestiture of AT&T. Under new organization, publication continued as AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Journal in 1984 with Volume 63, maintaining the volume sequence numbers established since 1922. In 1985, Bell Laboratories was removed from the title to AT&T Technical Journal until 1995 (Volume 74).

In 1996, the title was changed to Bell Labs Technical Journal, and publication management was transferred to Wiley Periodicals, Inc., establishing a new volume sequence (Volume 1).

Notable papersEdit

  • In 1928, Clinton Joseph Davisson published a paper on electron diffraction by nickel crystal, thus unambiguously establishing the wave nature of electron.[2] This discovery led to a widespread acceptance of particle-wave duality of matter and won him the 1937 Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • Claude Shannon's paper "A Mathematical Theory of Communication", which founded the field of information theory, was published as two-part article in July and October issue of 1948.[3][4]
  • Many landmark papers from the developers of Unix appeared in a themed issue in 1978.[5]
  • The journal is notorious for numerous articles disclosing the internal operation of the long-distance switching system used in direct distance dialing (DDD) in the Bell System in the 1950s and 1960s. Articles such as those by A.Weaver and N.A. Newel (In-Band Single-Frequency Signaling),[6], and by C. Breen and C.A. Dahlbom (Signaling Systems for Control of Telephone Switching)[7] enabled phone phreaks to develop the blue box apparatus, which mimicked the switching system's signals to allow them to make free long-distance calls.
  • The 2009 Nobel Prize physicists Willard Boyle and George E. Smith described their new charge-coupled device in the journal in a 1970 paper.[8]


Below is a list of some of the former editors of this journal.

  • 1922 (July) R.W. King [9]
  • 1954 J.D. Tebo [10]
  • 1957 (May) W.D. Bulloch [11]
  • 1959 (January) H.S. Renne [11]
  • 1961 (March) G.E. Schindler, Jr.[11]

Bell Labs Technical JournalEdit

Bell Labs Technical Journal  
DisciplineElectrical engineering, computer science, telecommunication
Edited byCharlie Bahr
Publication details
Former name(s)
AT&T Technical Journal, AT&T Bell Laboratories Technical Journal, The Bell System Technical Journal
Publication history
Standard abbreviations
Bell Labs Tech. J.
ISSN1089-7089 (print)
1538-7305 (web)

The Bell Labs Technical Journal is the in-house scientific journal for scientists of Nokia Bell Labs. It is currently published yearly by the IEEE society on behalf of Nokia Bell Labs. The current managing editor is Charlie Bahr.[12]

Abstracting and indexingEdit

The following abstracting and indexing services cover the journal:

According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2015 impact factor of 1.2.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Bell System Technical Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, p.1.
  2. ^ Davisson, Clinton J. (January 1928). "The Diffraction of Electrons by a Crystal of Nickel" (PDF). Bell System Technical Journal: 90–105, . Retrieved 2012-03-31.
  3. ^ Shannon, Claude E. (July 1948). "A mathematical theory of communication" (PDF). Bell System Technical Journal: 27:379–423. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  4. ^ Shannon, Claude E. (October 1948). "A mathematical theory of communication" (PDF). Bell System Technical Journal: 623–656, . Retrieved 2010-10-21.
  5. ^ Ritchie, D.M.; K. Thompson (July–August 1978). "The UNIX Time-Sharing System". Bell System Technical Journal. 57 (6). Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  6. ^ Weaver, A.; N. A. Newell (1954). "In-Band Single-Frequency Signaling" (PDF). 33 (6). Retrieved 2011-03-03.
  7. ^ Breen, C.; Dahlbom, C. A. (1960), "Signaling Systems for Control of Telephone Switching" (PDF), Bell System Technical Journal, XXXIX (6): 1381–1444, doi:10.1002/j.1538-7305.1960.tb01611.x
  8. ^ "Charge coupled semiconductor devices." Bell System Technical Journal, 49(4): 587-93, April 1970.
  9. ^ "Forward". Bell System Technical Journal. New York City: American Telephone and Telegraph Company. 01 (01): 1–3. July 1922. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  10. ^ The History of Phone Phreaking. 1954.
  11. ^ a b c "Announcement of New Editor". AT & T. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  12. ^ "Bell Labs Technical Journal". Nokia Bell Labs. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
  13. ^ "Bell Labs Technical Journal". 2015 Journal Citation Reports. Web of Science (Science ed.). Thomson Reuters. 2016.

External linksEdit