The two introductions I chose to evaluate for this blog post are, The Introduction: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick and Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans. I chose these two introductions, first and foremost because they were written in a way that caught my interest and didn’t confuse the daylights out of me. And secondly, these introductions approached the history of the information age in a way that made me want to learn more, i.e. through the lens of women’s history and through the lens of big history.
Broad Band’s history of the occupation of computing really opened a new way of thinking for me. I especially enjoyed how Evans, through the examples of Ada King Lovelace and the early women think tanks, was able to describe women as “the first computers” and how “together they formed the first information networks” (Evans p. 25). As a class or in groups, I would like to dive deeper into the roles of women in the information age. The fact that Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, was writing programs before there were computers is quite fascinating and worth further discussion as well.
The Introduction by James Gleick was equally as enthralling. Lately, I have been researching the concept of big history for personal interests and this article reminded me of the big history approach to research. It is a way to look at human existence in a broad scope. Gleick takes the concept of information and makes it so comprehensive that he starts to hypothesize that everything in the entire universe is just random forms of information and that information is “more fundamental than matter itself” (Gleick p. 10). Since I like to think broad and then narrow my focus, this monograph really excites me. I may have to continue reading this book. I would like to look further into information as an eternal concept and not something new to our era.
I think that we can take these two topics and use them to come up with some great assignments for this seminar. I’m looking forward to seeing who else liked these introductions.
Check out this link for a great video on Technology and Self – you must scroll down a bit.
Evans, Claire L. Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women who Made the Internet. New York: Portfolio/Penquin, 2018.
Gleick, James. The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. New York: Random House, 2011.