Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Aug. 25, 2021, 7:23 a.m. Humanist 35.201 - Archives of Information Technology: recorded oral interviews

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 201.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
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        Date: 2021-08-24 14:21:35+00:00
        From: Tom Abram <research@ARCHIVESIT.ORG.UK>
        Subject: Post-war Britain and the Tech Revolution

Newly published - The Archives of Information Technology: More Than Just
Computers by Dr Sam Blaxland

Historian Dr Sam Blaxland of Swansea University contends that the AIT’s
unique collection of recorded oral interviews is not only a rich
resource for anyone wanting to study the social and cultural history of
the last eight decades of life in Britain but the collection is also
fundamentally important because through studying the lives of
individuals involved in the development of IT in this country opens the
gateway to understanding the very  fabric of  national life during that
period.  The archive shows us, explains Dr Blaxland,  “how those behind
the development of IT were drawn from a range of backgrounds, both in
terms of sex, class, family occupation, and race.”

The study concentrates on some key individuals from the archive, most of
whom were born between the mid-1930s and early 1950s, focusing on their
backgrounds, upbringings, family lives and schooling.

“What is so striking about the development of the IT sector, and more
specifically those that led this proliferation in the early post-war
decades, is that, on the whole, they were not rooted in one of the
higher social classes. Unlike so many aspects of public life, the
business world, law, the civil service, politics and academia in this
period, which remained stubbornly connected to an established group of
more middle-class individuals, the IT sector was very different. Its
newness, and the fresh-thinking and talent it required, meant it drew in
people whose fundamental qualities were intelligence and innovation –
something not related to social class. In other words, it was close to a
meritocracy.” Contends Dr Blaxland …a rich resource for anyone studying the
social and cultural history of post-war Britain.

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