“THE RUSTLE OF INDEX CARDS”. Index cards were the foundation for research papers back in the day. We were taught to use them in high school when we learned to write research papers, and the index cards we had used were submitted as part of the assignment in our first research paper.
It was assumed that all serious scholars used index cards.
Here via Google books is a passage from a review by John Updike of THE GATES OF HORN, a work of literary criticism by Professor Harry Levin. On the whole, the review was favorable, but Updike couldn’t resist taking a shot at Professor Levin’s style. This sentence comes from 1963, before the computer:
“The reader too frequently hears the rustle of index cards.”