Computer: A History of the Information Machine , is a 1996 book by Martin Campbell-Kelly and William Aspray. It offers an overview of the history of computing and computer hardware which ends with the rise of the world wide web in the mid-1990s.
Table of Contents
- Part One: Before the Computer
- 1: When Computers Were People
- 2: The Mechanical Office
- 3: Babbage's Dream Comes True
- Part Two: Creating the Computer
- 4: Inventing the Computer
- 5: The Computer Becomes A Business Machine
- 6: The Maturing of the Mainframe: The Rise and Fall of IBM
- Part Three: Innovation and Expansion
- 7: Real Time: Reaping the Whirlwind
- 8: Software
- 9: New Modes of Computing
- Part Four: Getting Personal
- 10: The Shaping of the Personal Computer
- 11: The Shift To Software
- 12: From the World Brain to The World Wide Web
- During the second half of the 1980s, the joys of 'surfing the net,' began to excite the interest of people beyond the professional computer-using communities [...] However, the existing computer networks were largely in government, higher education and business. They were not a free good and were not open to hobbyists or private firms that did not have access to a host computer. To fill this gap, a number of firms such as CompuServe, Prodigy, GEnie, and America Online sprang up to provide low cost network access [...] While these networks gave access to Internet for e-mail (typically on a pay-per-message basis), they did not give the ordinary citizen access to the full range of the Internet, or to the glories of [(protocol)|gopherspace] or the World Wide Web. In a country whose Constitution enshrines freedom of information, most of its citizens were effectively locked out of the library of the future. The Internet was no longer a technical issue, but a political one. (1996:298).
According to the "IEEE Annals of the History of Computing", Campbell-Kelly and Aspray's account is "a highly readable, broad-brush picture of the development of computing, or rather of the computer industry, from its beginning to the present" which "sets a new standard for the history of computing."