How Computers Changed the Work of American Public Sector Industries (Hardcover)

By James W. Cortada

Oxford University Press, USA, 9780195165869, 478pp.

Publication Date: November 6, 2007



In The third volume of The Digital Hand, James W. Cortada completes his sweeping survey of the effect of computers on American industry, turning finally to the public sector, and examining how computers have fundamentally changed the nature of work in government and education. This book goes far beyond generalizations about the Information Age to the specifics of how industries have functioned, now function, and will function in the years to come. Cortada combines detailed analysis with narrative history to provide a broad overview of computings and telecommunications role in the entire public sector, including federal, state, and local governments, and in K-12 and higher education. Beginning in 1950, when commercial applications of digital technology began to appear, Cortada examines the unique ways different public sector industries adopted new technologies, showcasing the manner in which their innovative applications influenced other industries, as well as the U.S. economy as a whole.

He builds on the surveys presented in the first volume of the series, which examined sixteen manufacturing, process, transportation, wholesale and retail industries, and the second volume, which examined over a dozen financial, telecommunications, media, and entertainment industries. With this third volume, The Digital Hand trilogy is complete, and forms the most comprehensive and rigorously researched history of computing in business since 1950, providing a detailed picture of what the infrastructure of the Information Age really looks like and how we got there. Managers, historians, economists, and those working in the public sector will appreciate Cortada's analysis of digital technology's many roles and future possibilities.

About the Author

James W. Cortada has worked at IBM for more than thirty-two years in a variety of sales, consulting, management, and executive positions in the information processing industry. He is the author of more than two dozen books on the role of information and computing in the American economy. His most recent books were the first two volumes of The Digital Hand, published by Oxford University Press. He holds a Ph.D. in modern history from Florida State University.