Sunday, October 7, 2012

Information Technology history

Some while ago I began to put together an historical timeline on digital library developments. The timeline began relatively informally, but lately I have started to add references to source materials. It is very much a work in progress, but I would be happy to have suggestions for more entries. Anyone may view the timeline, but only I can update it at the moment.

Digital libraries and in a broader sense the world of information technology is relatively young, but it has become old enough that some attention to its history seems increasingly warranted. ASIS&T has, for example, a webpage devoted to the history of information science and technology. Professional historians are starting to take an interest as well, including colleagues at Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin.

The social and legal issues are complex and interesting, and increasingly students need enough historical background in the history of technology to discuss topics like copyright or censorship or even the effect of technology on elections (such as the current US presidential election). We also have an imperfect understanding about the interaction between innovation and users, except that in some cases users quickly adopted new developments (HTML, for example) and in other cases innovations like the mouse sat fallow for years. Questions about the innovation/demand cycle play a key role in discussions about the industrial revolution. Whether the dynamics are similar or not I have too little evidence to judge.

This blog has been quiet for some time, but I plan to use it more regularly to discuss issues about the history of information technology precisely because I hope for comments from readers.

19 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. A source I've found very useful for tracking the history of technology in libraries in general is:
    A Brief History of the Future of Libraries: An Annotated Bibliography, by Gregg Sapp
    http://books.google.com/books?id=TnHV-9h8L9wC

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  4. With the development of Information Technology, digital library development is not so far. Information technology has penetrated in almost every field to give luxury to man kind.]
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  5. A visual timeline based on the https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LSjV9LAM3L5Y2e69KOIJNgLNSx9lDADs3SrYi8TfwzM/edit can be found here: http://norm.al/digital-library-timeline/

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  6. Information technology has been around because there were always ways of communicating through technology available at that point in time, but it is important to learn about how we got to the point we are at with latest information technology news today.

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