Why the History of the Information Age Is So Cloudy
One word: Engineers. The history of the Information Age is actually a variety of technological breakthroughs that were eventually united by the successful implementation of The Theory of the Information Age, which was the idea that a new economic and communications platform could be created by interlinking computers via telecommunications.
Engineers, being engineers and not historians or writers, have always tended to be far more focused upon their work than they have been in making a record of it (other than user manuals). In other words, to engineers, the thrill is in the doing, in the creation of technology, not in the "contemplating" of either some theory or the ramifications of it.
That’s not a bad thing, actually. We would not be where we are today in high technology, if the research and design engineers had spent a lot of time “contemplating their navel” instead of being practical and figuring out how to make things work.
As a result, while you can find a handful of books that contribute to the field of history of the Information Age, there aren’t that many of true value, and an awful lot of books have an awful lot of incorrect information, because the authors were writing second-hand and were not present during actual events. The result is that assumptions get presented as “facts,” and other information often consists of “best guesses” by people trying to remember what happened because no actual written record exists.
An easy way to understand how much of the “history” of the Information Age is simply rubbish, one need only run an Internet search on the expression “Information Age.” The contradictions that appear; the personal opinions expressed as fact; and the resources being put forward, despite many books and articles sounding “intellectual,” tend to be confusing and are the work of people who, again, were most often not directly involved in the events that brought about the major changes that have occurred, but who are making a sincere effort to try and understand and interpret events.
In addition, finding writers who truly understand high technology as well as being good historians and biographers have been hard to come by, though surely their numbers are now growing. For instance, when I was in journalism school, I pursued a second major in computer science. This did NOT make my journalism advisors happy. Their logic preferred that I get a minor in history or political science. Computer science was felt to be a "useless" field of endeavor in the 1970's for those wishing to become writers when I attended college.
This website will attempt to bring clarity to that situation, to try and encourage true scholarship, and will evolve over time to bring the Information Age and its history into focus so that there is a starting point for historians, sociologists, technologists (if that’s a real word!), economists, educators, students, and others to use in developing solid ideas for humans to apply in planning our movement into the Information Age.