My research focuses on technology as a lens for exploring the ways that humans act collectively to govern themselves. Communication technologies provide a rich body of evidence for exploring how Americans expressed their political and cultural values and embedded those values in the laws, technical standards, and governing institutions of communications networks.
Standardization is a particularly compelling topic because it forces us to confront some of the fundamental questions that concern historians of science, technology, and business. How do groups of individuals work together to create technical knowledge? How do scientists, corporations, and regulators coordinate the processes of research and innovation? How much cooperation is necessary to facilitate competition? These questions also speak to broader areas of inquiry for historians of politics and ideas, and have implications for scholars in a variety of disciplines, including law, economics, sociology, communication, and public policy.
Publications, Reviews, and Oral Histories
“Histories of Networking vs. the History of the Internet,” Paper presented to the SIGCIS 2012 Workshop, Copenhagen, Denmark, October 7, 2012.
“Bancroft Gherardi and the Monopoly Bell System: Pioneers in Information Technology Standardization,” in Toni Carbo and Trudi Bellardo Hahn, eds., International Perspectives on the History of Information Science and Technology (2012).
“Standards, Networks, and Critique,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 34:3 (2012): 78-80.
“Modularity: An Interdisciplinary History of an Ordering Concept,” Information and Culture: A Journal of History 47:3 (2012): 257-287.
Review of The HP Phenomenon: Innovation and Business Transformation, by Charles House and Raymond Price, The Business History Review 85 (2011): 813-815.
“Constructing Legitimacy: the W3C’s Patent Policy,” in Laura DeNardis, ed., Opening Standards: The Global Politics of Interoperability (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2011).
Review of Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Unemployment in the United States, by William Lazonick, Enterprise & Society 11 (2010): 846-849.
“‘Industrial Legislatures’: Consensus Standardization in the Second and Third Industrial Revolutions,” Enterprise and Society 10 (2009): 661-674.
“Standardization Across the Boundaries of the Bell System, 1920-1938,” History of Technology Volume 28 (James Sumner and Graeme J N Gooday, eds. By Whose Standards? Standardization, stability and uniformity in the history of information and electrical technologies), 2008, 37-52.
“Dot-Org Entrepreneurship: Weaving a Web of Trust,” Enterprises et Histoire No. 51 (June, 2008): 44-56. (available upon email request)
“Industrial Legislatures: The American System of Standardization,” in International Standardization as a Strategic Tool (Geneva: International Electrotechnical Commission, 2006). [Commended Paper, IEC Centenary Challenge]
“Industrial Legislatures: The American System of Standardization,” Standards Engineering: The Journal of the Standards Engineering Society Volume 58, Number 5, September/October 2006, 1-10. [First Prize, 2006 World Standards Day Paper Competition]
“‘Rough Consensus and Running Code’ and the Internet-OSI Standards War,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 28, Issue 3, July-September 2006, 48-61.
“Telecommunications Standards in the Second and Third Industrial Revolutions,” The Journal of the Communications Network Volume 5, Part 1, January-March 2006, 100-106.
“Standardization in History: A Review Essay with an Eye to the Future,” in Sherrie Bolin, ed., The Standards Edge: Future Generations (Ann Arbor, MI: Sheridan Press, 2005), 247-260.
Oral history Interview with David L. Mills, February 24, 2004, Newark, Delaware. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Recent Fellowships, Grants, and Awards
2011: History Fellowship, Association for Computing Machinery
2010: History Fund Grant Award, American Society for Information Science and Technology
2010: Arthur L. Norberg Travel Grant, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota
2009: Finalist, Herman E. Krooss Prize for the Best Dissertation in Business History
2008-2009: IEEE Life Members’ Fellowship in Electrical History
2007-2008: Post Doctoral Fellowship, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University
2006-2007: The Adelle and Erwin Tomash Fellowship in the History of Information Processing,
Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota
2006: Commended Paper, International Electrotechnical Commission Centenary Challenge
2006: First place, World Standards Day Paper Competition