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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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How Citizens Became Dependent on Information, 1870–1945

How Citizens Became Dependent on Information, 1870–1945

(p.189) Chapter 5 How Citizens Became Dependent on Information, 1870–1945
All the Facts

James W. Cortada

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the use of information by individuals in their private lives. Specifically, it looks at their use in the home; children’s information ecosystems; the war against germs by teaching sanitation; the role of facts in vacations, religion, community service clubs, and in the support of hobbies and sports; and the special circumstance of using information during World War II. The chapter argues that the type and ways of information use in private lives mimicked how people used information in their work lives. As profoundly dependent workers became on information in factories, offices, and farms, they did so too in their private lives. Their concerns about childraising, for example, led to a substantial increase in information regarding how to raise children that parents relied upon. They carried over practices from work to private activities, such as budget management in their churches they way they did at work and communications practices in their civic organizations as in the office. There was no facet of private lives immune from the use of organized information, most of it published or written down, and that helped shape the creation and use of an information ecosystem in which people functioned.

Keywords:   home, children, vacations, hobby, service club, religion, World War II, women, information, information ecosystem

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