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RCL Career Resources Computer and Information Technology: Information Technology Applications

RCL Information Technology Applications + Choice Titles

Hugos and Hulitzky, business IT specialists, advocate the business context for cloud computing, noting industry changes that made this technology critical. Their book, essentially a guide to cloud computing for business managers, highlights the benefits of cloud computing and discusses a wide range of practical considerations and strategies for making the transition to cloud computing. Though the book does not focus on the complexity of the cloud as a technical theme, it furnishes information on a few issues relative to the technology, such as security. The book offers limited information on diverse projects of firms investing in cloud computing and on a methodology that might be integrated into a cloud computing strategy for business managers. Though these limitations are inherent in a book for business managers, this work does provide case studies and useful references and can serve as a good introduction for managers. In addition, the information might be beneficial to chief technology officers as a checklist to learning the business theme of the cloud if they are not already familiar with it. Lastly, the authors offer helpful information on the impact of the cloud computing paradigm for managers in industry. See also, Charles Babcock's Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution (CH, Dec'10, 48-2171). Summing Up: Recommended. Practitioners.

--J. P. Lawler, Pace University

This encyclopedia by Henderson (independent scholar) provides an excellent introduction to the technical and social aspects of computer science. Entries are clearly written and accessible for nontechnical people, beginning students, and anyone wanting an introduction to an unfamiliar computer science topic. The 2009 revision (earlier edition, CH, Jun'03, 40-5551) adds material on current topics such as user-generated Web content, mobile computing and communications, electronic surveillance, and control of the Internet. More than 175 entries are new, and more than 600 have been updated, with new resources added to the "Further Reading" section at the end of each entry. Entries are alphabetically arranged, and a detailed index helps users find terms and concepts within them. Appendixes provide a short bibliography and list of Web resources, a time line of computer history, a list of major awards and their recipients, and contact information for the major computer science and technology organizations. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-grade high school students, lower- and upper-level undergraduates, two-year technical program students, and general readers.

--C. M. Dalzell, Quinnipiac University

Shih (CEO, Hearsay Labs) has updated her book, which is warranted by the immense changes in the social Web since the 2009 publication of the first edition. Many of the featured platforms of the first edition, such as MySpace, are now uninteresting for business, while Twitter and LinkedIn are significantly more important. In this reviewer's opinion, a more accurate title would be "The Social Media Era." The book contains many new examples of how companies are innovatively using the social Web to better know and support customers and reach new audiences for business functions including sales, marketing, customer service, innovation, collaboration, and recruiting. Each chapter ends with an actionable to-do list including items such as "Consider building a crowdsourced ideation community to track market demand for proposed features and generate new ideas." Shih has created associated Web discussion threads for each chapter to allow readers to share experiences. The book contains case studies, some of which are locatable in the index under "case studies." Sidebars from renowned social media authorities vary from idiosyncratic anecdotes to useful recommendations. A new chapter for nonprofits, health care, education, and political organizations is very helpful. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All business collections.

--C. Wankel, St. John's University, New York

Outstanding Academic Title

The Hyper-Social Organization offers the reader the opportunity to contextualize technology and social communication in a broader organizational and cultural context. The authors, marketing/media professionals, offer a valuable summary of the often-breathtaking evolution of technology and social communication. From that perspective, they move away from the easy nostrums and "ooh" factor of technology to the broader implications of organizational/cultural interactions. They achieve this while acknowledging that even more rapid change will continue to occur--and will provide even more emphasis on storytelling, community, networks, and tribal/human interactions. All this will require a plasticity, flexibility, and intrapreneurship that are still a stretch in many of today's organizations. The authors do a wonderful job in presenting this evolving world in clear, concise prose, and they present ample examples to illustrate their points and highlight companies employing effective strategies to become "hyper-social" organizations. The text also debunks some earlier concepts such as business opportunities from the "long tail" (see, for example, Chris Anderson's The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More (CH, Jan'07, 44-2783). This book is a thought-provoking read and a comprehensive introduction to today's business challenges as social media and social networking become increasingly vital to success. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.

--S. A. Schulman, CUNY Kingsborough Community College

Outstanding Academic Title

Okin's guide to the history, technology, and use of the World Wide Web is a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable account of the Web's rise to prominence. Starting with Tim Berners-Lee and his remarkable accomplishments at CERN (the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland), the book traces the development of hypertext, HTTP, HTML, and Internet services such as FTP and TELNET to modern multimedia applications such as Java applets and Flash. Despite the Web's humble beginnings, big business soon jumps into the game and provides the impetus for a technological and commercial explosion of unparalleled proportions. Not all of this is wondrous and glorious. Okin delves deeply into his aptly named "Shadow Web" to expose the nefarious collection of a mountain of information ripe for plunder and exploitation. Finally, the reader gets a glimpse of the Web of tomorrow: Berners-Lee named it "The Semantic Web." The book calls this a knowledge space, an extension of today's Web (often referred to as an information space) that makes use of metadata (information about information) and newer languages like XML and RDF. Indeed, this book is not for dummies but can be enjoyed by anyone with a vested interest in the Internet. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates; professionals.

--M. Connell, SUNY College at Cortland

Though there are many definitions of what constitutes "cloud computing," Babcock (business reporter, InformationWeek) uses the definition proposed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology: "a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction." This cloud model has five essential characteristics (on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service); three service models (cloud software as a service, cloud platform as a service, and cloud infrastructure as a service); and four deployment models (private cloud, community cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud). Babcock's book focuses on the management implications of cloud computing, in particular, how managers can position their companies for advantage using the various deployment models. In chapter 7, he examines the implications of cloud computing on IT staff reorganization. In chapter 9, he considers the question "What kind of company do you want?" in the context of social networking, analytical systems, and business intelligence. The final chapter discusses NASA's strategic cloud Nebula. This readable, thought-provoking book will be especially useful to business professionals and practitioners. Summing Up: Recommended. Practitioner and corporate collections.

--E. J. Szewczak, Canisius College

Weber (global communications specialist and founder, Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange) taps a subject of great interest to marketers--turning social networks into gold. At a time when everyone is connected online 24/7 to friends, family, coworkers, organizations, and more, he advises that it is essential for marketers to be in that digital loop. Rather than sending one-sided messages to consumers, advertisers need to interact with them, becoming part of their communities. Social networking Web sites like MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Craig's List, Second Life, and others are the new town hall meeting forums. The communication channels are endless, creating new opportunities for savvy marketers to build customer relationships. Quoting Diane Hessan of Communispace, Weber writes, "Customers are screaming to be more engaged with companies that affect their lives ... They want to be asked and they want to be involved." Companies cited who are getting it right include Stonyfield Farm, Chipotle, IKEA, Oracle, General Motors, and MasterCard. In addition to explaining how social networks operate, Weber outlines seven steps marketers can take to build their own digital communities. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division and graduate marketing students, faculty, and practitioners.

--P. G. Kishel, Cypress College

Kourouthanassis and Giaglis (both, Athens Univ. of Economics and Business, Greece) present a comprehensive look at the evolution and contribution of pervasive information systems (also dubbed PS in the work) as they become increasingly embedded in the products and services of daily life. This volume examines three key component areas of pervasive systems and how they have been shaped by and themselves shape business, government, and daily living. The first third of the book addresses the features and design of such systems, including an evaluation of what additional resources are required to power them, such as a database to store the associated information for an embedded active radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. The second and third portions of the book focus more on specific incarnations of the technology and less quantitative evaluations of the performance of these systems, such as aesthetic quality and accurate usage. This work presents a marvelous look at how these systems have come to be and how they continue to evolve. The inclusion of more comprehensive case studies in these systems would have been very helpful. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower- and upper-division undergraduates.

--T. D. Richardson, South University

Qualman (online marketing and e-commerce specialist) presents a collection of upbeat, anecdotal essays about using new social media venues effectively. Coining the term "socialnomics," the popular speaker and consultant conveys the transparency of Web opinions (good or bad) and their effects on the profitability of products and services. He structures the book's presentation in the style of social media messages, so the text lacks depth and substance. Marketing and sales-management professionals will appreciate the discussions of social media concepts, terminology, and adages. Rather than lose potential customers to negative messages on Twitter and Facebook, savvy marketers can use social media to publicize positive customer experiences, Qualman advises. He notes that traditional advertising techniques (pre-Web 1.0) are far less effective in reaching the majority of potential customers and that survival requires leveraging social media. Notes and popular literature references are provided for each chapter, along with summaries. The author's complementary blog, Socialnomics--Social Media Blog http://socialnomics.net/, updates the book and illustrates social media concepts. The Social Media Bible, by Lon Safko and David Brake (CH, Sep'09, 47-0374), provides more comprehensive coverage and strategies for implementing social media. Summing Up: Recommended. Practitioners; general readers; undergraduate students at all levels. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--N. J. Johnson, formerly, Metropolitan State University