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All the FactsA History of Information in the United States since 1870$
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James W. Cortada

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190460679

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190460679.001.0001

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Big Business and Small Farms Rely on Information, 1870–1941

Big Business and Small Farms Rely on Information, 1870–1941

(p.92) Chapter 3 Big Business and Small Farms Rely on Information, 1870–1941
All the Facts

James W. Cortada

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how large enterprises and all manner of farms became early and extensive users of information. Large businesses could only function if they had enough information to control and coordinate their activities. The chapter describes how large businesses developed, the problems managers had that could be solved by using facts, the types of information they created, the equipment they used to collect and apply it, and the development of a market for selling and purchasing of data. Special attention is given, too, to how farmers became extensive users of information. This chapter focuses largely, however, on the ability of large enterprises to form because of the existence of new information technologies that facilitated the control of bigger enterprises by management. The innovations included the telegraph, telephone, adding and calculating machinery, and new ways to organize information in file cabinets and folders to innovative forms of accounting and financial management.

Keywords:   big business, farmer, science and technology, business information, use, information ecosystem

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