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RCL Career Resources Computer and Information Technology: General, Reference, and Career

RCL Computer and Information Technology Reference and Career + Choice Titles

Writer Carr compares and contrasts the evolution of early computing from mainframes, to massive information technology departments, to personal computing, to the Internet/World Wide Web, to "Worldwide Computing" (WWC), to previous revolutions like Edisonian electrification. The book clearly describes the data processing revolution beginning with Hollerith punched cards and advancing through various processes, usually of benefit to corporations and bureaucracies, with spillover to individuals. The benefits to all parties are legion and well described with the histories of Google and others recounted. The result is the global dispersal of previously centralized IT and computing functions involving every participating PC, yet ironically recentralized into a growing number of megasites such as Google. After recounting the benefits of WWC, the author describes the "Dark Side." Democratization also breeds polarization and balkanization; independence, dependence, and loss of control; privacy, security, and exposure. Jobs are threatened as never before as small staffs of entrepreneurs replace journalists, analysts, and librarians. Unlike past revolutions, no new jobs are created. Loss of control--personal, corporate, and governmental--is occurring. Carr also addresses the boon and bane of artificial intelligence. Users beware! Summing Up: Recommended. All readers/libraries.

--R. E. Buntrock, formerly, University of Maine

This book is a splendid account of the history of computing machines. From Jacquard's punch card loom to today's Dick Tracy-like Internet connectors, the book provides a wealth of fascinating historical and technological information, especially for first-time readers. Campbell-Kelly (emer., Univ. of Warwick, UK) and W. Aspray (Univ. of Texas, Austin) authored the first two editions (2nd ed., CH, Apr'05, 42-4686; 1st ed., CH, Jan'97, 34-2793); N. Ensmenger (Indiana Univ. Bloomington) and J. Yost (Univ. of Minnesota) are new coauthors for this significantly revised/updated version. Part 1 discusses the days before computers existed. The need for mechanical calculating machines was not always apparent, but economic forces paved the way to a new mode of thinking for a recalcitrant public. Part 2 shows how the evolution of electrical technology and the dramatic effects and demands of WW II spurred the beginnings of electronic computers. Ingenuity and tireless effort finally resulted in viable machines that could be sold on the open market. Part 3 explains the rise of the software industry and those companies that had the vision to adapt and flourish in this wonderfully abstract world of zeroes and ones. Part 4 is a tribute to a sophisticated industry that puts networked computers in people's pockets. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.

--M. Connell, SUNY College at Cortland

Yost (Charles Babbage Institute for the History of Information Technology, Univ. of Minnesota) examines different phases of the development of the computer industry, beginning with its prehistory (1880-1939) and ending with the computer networking revolution (1990-2004). His account details the contributions of business, government, and academia to each phase. Before the first chapter, a time line (1943-2004) of significant computer industry developments is provided. Interesting photographs of computer industry personages and computer hardware are provided throughout, courtesy of the Charles Babbage Institute, the IBM Archives, and the MIT Museum. An appendix contains profiles of significant companies in the computer industry categorized along the lines of hardware, software/programming services, and networking/e-commerce. The "Suggestions for Further Reading and Research" section offers illuminating commentary by the author and is much more than just a reading list. The index provides a convenient list of the names of the important contributors to the development of the computer industry. A valuable book for anyone interested in the evolution and future of the computer industry. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections.

--E. J. Szewczak, Canisius College

Outstanding Academic Title

Knee (SUNY at Albany), a well-published bibliographer and science librarian, has created an up-to-date, user-friendly, and affordable guide to major computing and computer science resources. The text begins with an overview of important classification systems for computer science, followed by annotations for guides to the literature. Next, the author wisely groups similar indexing and abstracting services together, giving readers a clear view of how print and Web publications interrelate. His annotations for dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks are extensive, containing mostly recently published print resources and freely accessible Web sites. More entries on print and Web-based resources cover areas including algorithms, biography, career and employment, colleges and universities, directories, portals, meetings and conferences, programming and programming languages, standards and specifications, technical reports, tutorials, and courses. Professional associations, organizations, and societies are included, and contact information for publishers, vendors, and providers is listed. Indexes arranged by author/editor and title complete the text. This work's selective scope keeps readers focused on the latest resources and refers them to other sources for historical research. Entries are numbered for easy cross-referencing, and include subject and date coverage as well as available electronic/print counterparts. The rich source of URLs for free and open-access Web information makes the guide well worth acquiring for academic and professional collections. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above.

--N. Chipman-Shlaes, Governors State University

Outstanding Academic Title

Swedin and Ferro (both, Weber State Univ.) provide a compelling history of computer technology. Beginning with mathematical and technical innovations ranging from the abacus to the Internet and beyond, they take the reader on a fascinating journey through the inventions that lead to the IBM and Cray supercomputers, as well as the desktop personal computer and PDAs. A time line from 35,000 BCE to 2003 CE offers the reader a broad overview of mathematics and inventions such as the abacus, printing press, typewriter, and television, which were precursors to the computer. This book will be most useful for readers desiring to learn about computer history and the people who developed the inventions leading to the current level of computer technology. A fascinating, enjoyable book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.

--L. S. Pogue, University of Arkansas at Monticello

Now in its 11th edition, this dictionary, edited by Downing (Seattle Pacific Univ.), comprises over 3,200 entries ranging from "1G" to "Mark Zuckerberg." Contributors include professors with backgrounds in economics, quantitative analysis, and artificial intelligence, as well as a professional graphic designer. This compact little dictionary is not intended for computer scientists, but offers a mix of readable definitions for the average computer user, along with black-and-white illustrations. This edition updates the previous one (10th ed., 2009) with new and expanded entries on topics like tablet computers, smartphones, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Appendixes include Greek letters, a visual dictionary of characters and symbols, and country codes for top-level domains. One minor quibble: the book would have benefitted from updated screenshots to enhance its currency; e.g., the entry for "Start button" uses an image from the Windows 95 operating system. Freely available computer science and Internet dictionaries abound on the web, but their quality and depth of coverage varies. This title benefits from a long track record of publication and a low price. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers.

--M. Shores, Miami University Hamilton

Outstanding Academic Title

Rojas provides an introduction to computers and computer history that has been sorely missing from reference shelves. The work's 600 entries, many of which represent the first reference treatment of this topic, are intended to make entries accessible to readers while maintaining a consistent level of technical information. The set encompasses nearly every aspect of computers and their history, including: personal computing, computer languages and formats, mainframes, robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet, major contributors to the field of study and industry, the "slang and lore of computer scientists and hackers," and much more. Each entry includes an essay with textual explanations and a clear system of cross-referencing. The authors include further reading sections at the end of each article, as well as extensive bibliographies at the conclusion of the second volume. Essential for undergraduate collections, academic and public libraries, and computer science researchers interested in learning more about the rich field and history of computer science.

--L. Lampert, California State University--Northridge

The history of computing is not finished yet, but Ceruzzi (National Air and Space Museum) acknowledges this and presents a well-told story. This very readable account of computers and computing from about 1945 to 2001 starts with the ENIAC and UNIVAC computers, and ends with the open source movement. The author effectively works facts and technical ideas into a narrative that clearly portrays the trends in computing. There is a focus on commercially sold computers and the companies that made them, rather than on particular applications of computers such as in artificial intelligence or financial systems. Several dozen black-and-white photos and diagrams show many of the people and computers involved in launching new computers or software. For the scholar, notes to the text and more than 200 references are included, as is a detailed index. This second edition (1st ed., CH, Apr'99) adds material of the period 1995-2001, including the Microsoft antitrust case, the dot-com crash, and the open source movement. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.

--S. L. Tanimoto, University of Washington