[SIGCIS-Members] New Book: Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States

Wed May 16 11:41:47 PDT 2012

Dear fellow SIGCISers,

I am pleased to announce that the Johns Hopkins University Press has just published my book, Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States.  I believe it would be of particular interest to many people here.

Briefly, this history book explores how computer technology, biology, and medicine transformed each other in the 1950s and 1960s.  On the one hand, it examines the conditions that made possible the computerization of biology and medicine -- including strong technological, institutional, and political support from the National Institutes of Health. On the other hand, it also shows how work within the life sciences led to important developments in computer architecture and software design -- personal computers and expert systems both have seldom-discussed roots in biomedical research labs.

A couple of my goals in writing this book were to: 1) demonstrate the historical importance of early computing projects not only to modern fields like bio- and medical informatics but also to everyday life in the lab and clinic; 2) show how biology and medicine, both areas of increasing importance to computing, have long shaped the development of computer technology.  Therefore, to reach audiences familiar with biomedical research but not computing as well as those familiar with computing but not biology and medicine, the book is designed so that little knowledge of biology, medicine, or computing is required of the reader.

More immediate to this community, quite a few SIGCIS members are referenced in the book. Furthermore, feedback from SIGCIS members (both at and beyond SIGCIS events) greatly helped me improve the quality of my manuscript. Thanks!

More information about the book can be found at:




Joseph November, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of History
University of South Carolina
223 Gambrell Hall
Columbia, SC 29208
november at sc.edu
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