Wednesday, April 02, 2008
This week I'll be spending some time down at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (where I did my undergraduate degree in computer science in the late 1980s) to speak to the Graduate School of Library and Information Science under the banner of their new "Information in Society" doctoral program concentration (thanks to professors Dan Schiller and Linda Smith for the kind invitation). I'll be discussing some very, very "in progress" work dealing with the history of libraries, computers, and human labor in the postwar but pre-Web era. It's part of my third book project, which I'm tentatively calling "The push-button library: Computers and the transformation of metadata labor, 1945-1995" (catchy, huh?). The angle I'll be discussing deals with the way we as historians might make claims about the connections between gender and technology in librarianship during this period -- even when most of the historical actors at the time weren't talking about such connections themselves. It's a topic I'll also be working up in more detail as a formal paper for a conference and workshop entitled "History, Gender, Computing" at the Charles Babbage Institute for the History of Information Technology up at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in late May.