[SIGCIS-Members] Bill Aspray is writing about Food in the Internet Age

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Thu Sep 12 14:43:42 PDT 2013

[Bill sent the text below a little while ago, but it bounced from this list.
I am resending on his behalf. Tom].

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to point you to a book which may be of interest to historians
of computing but which is appearing in a place they would not normally look:
Springer Briefs on Food, Health, and Nutrition. This book, Food in the
Internet Age, which I have written with two of my doctoral students (Melissa
Ocepek and George Royer), will appear in late September. The first chapter
provides a conceptual categorization of food-related websites, examines
Internet traffic to these sites, and give three mini case studies of
individuals with food websites that move from one conceptual category to
another over time. The second chapter provides a business history of online
grocer Webvan, which lost more money than any other dot-com startup,
together with a more general account of the history of the online grocery
business. The third chapter provides three case studies on food-related
companies with a major online business model (Yelp, OpenTable, and Groupon)
and discusses the harm they can create for individual customers and Main
Street businesses. The final chapter uses business history and information
studies theories to examine six models by which companies try to create
trust online when sharing recipes: the community review model (Allrecipes),
the laboratory testing model (Cook's Illustrated), the scientific model
(Nathan Myhrvold and Modernist Cuisine), the expert chef model (ten
celebrity chefs), the corporate publishing model (Conde Nast), and the
corporate food products model (Betty Crocker). The same set of authors have
another book, on food policy history, that we anticipate will appear in the
same book series in 2014. Bon appetit!

Bill Aspray=

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