Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
All the FactsA History of Information in the United States since 1870$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 February 2020

Information and the Modern Knowledge Worker, 1945–1998

Information and the Modern Knowledge Worker, 1945–1998

Chapter:
(p.326) Chapter 8 Information and the Modern Knowledge Worker, 1945–1998
Source:
All the Facts
Author(s):

James W. Cortada

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190460679.003.0009

No Americans experienced more changes in how they lived, worked, and used information than employees, particularly those known as knowledge workers. Their new world of information and their use of computing are described, using case studies of blue-collar workers, automotive mechanics, factory workers, plumbers, nurses, professionals, doctors, engineers, IBM salesmen, and software programmers. It demonstrates that a wide range of jobs and professions all experienced substantial increases in the volume and diversity of information required with which to do their work. This increased volume of information, and dependence upon it, was driven by technological changes in the tasks one performed, and that kept evolving over time, requiring dependence on new bodies of information. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the birth of digital literacy. Digital literacy—the ability to use computers, such as PCs at work—continued a long-standing evolution in what constituted literacy. In the 1700s it meant the ability to read, by the 1930s, it meant also performing basic mathematical functions, and by the 1990s operating PCs and widely used software tools. Today the ability of using smart phones constitutes the latest form of digital literacy. Many of the tools used in one era or another were shared across professions. The same applied to information as it diffused across professions, such as medical knowledge moving from doctors to nurses, then increasingly to patients. Each group created information ecosystems in support of their use of facts.

Keywords:   knowledge worker, computer, information ecosystem, blue-collar work, professionals and information, digital literacy, information

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .