The Digital Hand, Vol 3: How Computers Changed the Work of American Public Sector Industries

James W. Cortada

Research output: Book/ReportBook

31 Scopus citations


This book, the third of three volumes, completes the sweeping survey of the effect of computers on American industry began in the first volume and continued in the second volume. It turns finally to the public sector, examining how computers have fundamentally changed the nature of work in government and education. This book goes far beyond generalizations about the Information Age to the specifics of how industries have functioned, now function, and will function in the years to come. The book provides a broad overview of computing's and telecommunications' role in the entire public sector, including federal, state, and local governments, and in K-12 and higher education. Beginning in 1950, when commercial applications of digital technology began to appear, the book examines the unique ways different public sector industries adopted new technologies, showcasing the manner in which their innovative applications influenced other industries, as well as the US economy as a whole. The book builds on the surveys presented in the first volume, which examined sixteen manufacturing, process, transportation, wholesale and retail industries, and the second volume, which examined over a dozen financial, telecommunications, media, and entertainment industries. This book completes the trilogy and provides a picture of what the infrastructure of the Information Age really looks like and how we got there.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages496
ISBN (Electronic)9780199868025
ISBN (Print)9780195165869
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press, 2013. All Rights Reserved.


  • Computers
  • Education
  • Federal government
  • Information age
  • K-12
  • Local government
  • Public sector
  • State government
  • Telecommunications
  • Us government


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