In a day and age when things change in the blink of an eye — especially when it comes to technology — chronicling information science history can seem like an almost impossible feat. But capturing the stories of people and organizations that are or have been at the forefront of such change is critically important, says information sciences historian Jaana Porra, an associate professor of decision and information sciences at Bauer.
“We need to do this so that future generations of IS historians can study what happened; how and why things happened the way they did; and with what consequences,” Porra says. She is part of a small but growing international group of IS professors who believe “there is an urgent need to write down what has happened around the rapid advancement of computer technology by documenting perspectives on its impact on individuals’ lives; organizations; countries and humanity at large.”
Porra was guest editor with two colleagues in publishing a Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems special issue this past summer. She is working on a history of IS field origins, growth and future in the United Kingdom and years ago completed a documentation of Texaco’s IT function, “from the firm’s first computer to the end of Texaco as the company got acquired by Chevron.”
By Julie Bonnin