Jeffrey R. Yost, Ph.D.
Jeffrey R. Yost, Ph.D., Director
211 Andersen Library
222 21st Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Current and Recently Completed Research
My primary areas of research are the business, social, and cultural and intellectual history of computing. I am also a highly experienced science and technology oral history specialist.
My current research includes a history of computer security book I am currently writing under contract with MIT Press. I also have deep interest in political economy, and societal implications of computing structuring and use. With this, I am especially interested in user experiences, power imbalances with regard to race, class, gender, and the environment. This was the impetus to my conception of and co-organization (with Gerardo Con Diaz) of our Fall 2020 Symposium “Just Code: Power, Inequality, and the Global Political Economy of IT.” I have also begun to do research on the history of cognitive science and Human Computer Interaction, doing archival research and oral histories in this area.
I published Making IT Work: A History of the Computer Services Industry (MIT Press, 2017), FastLane: Managing Science in the Internet World (w/ Thomas Misa; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), Computer: A History of the Information Machine, 3rd Edition (w/ Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, and Nathan Ensmenger; Westview, 2014), and three earlier books.
On the editorial front, I was a past Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Annals of the History of Computing (2008-2012), and in 2015 and 2016 guest edited two computer security special issues for this journal. I also am on the editorial board of the Annals as well as Information & Culture. I co-lead/co-edit the Springer History of Computing Book Series (w/ Gerard Alberts).
I have been very active in sponsored research and have been an investigator on more than a half dozen sponsored research projects, mostly for the National Science Foundation, but also for the Department of Energy and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Cumulative I have led/co-led more than $2,000,000 in projects as an investigator.
In addition to my research, I am the author of the blog Blockchain and Society: Political Economy of Crypto, which seeks to promote blockchain history and sociology.
Brief Curriculum Vitae
Ph.D., History of Technology and Science, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1998.
M.A., History of Technology and Science, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1993.
M.B.A., Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, 2007.
B.A., Magna Cum Laude, History, Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1990.
- Director, Charles Babbage Institute for the History of Information Technology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2018 to present.
- Associate Director, Charles Babbage Institute for the History of Information Technology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1998 to 2018.
- Researcher, Center for Regional Economic Issues, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 1997-1998.
- Consulting Historian, Winthrop Group, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1994-1997.
Concurrent Professional Positions
- Faculty, Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2010 to present (Research Professor 2019 to present).
- Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 2008 to 2011.
- Society for the History of Technology
- American Historical Association
- Business History Conference
- Association for Computing Machinery
Select Publications, Presentations, Professional Service and Grants
Making IT Work: A History of the Computer Services Industry (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017).
Guest editor, two special issues of IEEE Annals of the History of Computing on the “History of Computer Security.” These are revised papers of an NSF-funded computer security history workshop I co-designed and co-led in July 2014. One issue was April-May 2015, the second October-December 2016.
“The March of IDES: The Advent and Early History of the Intrusion Detection Expert Systems.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 38:4 (October-December 2016): 42-54.
“The Origin and Early History of the Computer Security Software Industry.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 32:7 (April-June 2015): 46-58.
FastLane: Managing Science in the Internet World (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016) [Co-authored manuscript with Thomas J. Misa.]
Computer: A History of the Information Machine, Third Edition (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2014) [with Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, and Nathan Ensmenger].
“Appropriation and Independence: BTM, Burroughs, and IBM at the Advent of the Computer Industry.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 35:4 (October-December 2013): 5-17.
The IBM Century (Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 2011).
“Airline Travel: A History of Information-Seeking Behavior by Leisure and Business Passengers.” [with Rachel D. Little and Cecilia D. Williams]. In William Aspray and Barbara M. Hayes, eds. Everyday Information: The Evolution of Information Seeking in America (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011): 121-156.
“History of Computing Technology.” Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (Oxford, UK: UNESCO, EOLSS Publishers, 2011). [28,000 word history and historiographical article available at www.eolss.net]
“Materiel Command and the Materiality of Commands: An Historical Examination of the US Air Force, Control Data Corporation, and the Advanced Logistics System.” In Arthur Tatnall, ed. History of Computing: Lessons from the Past (London: Springer, 2010): 89-100.
“Programming Enterprise: Women Entrepreneurs in Software and Computer Services.” In Thomas J. Misa, ed. Gender Codes: Why Women Are Leaving Computing (New York: Wiley-IEEE Computer Society, 2010): 229-250.
“Manufacturing Mainframes: Component Fabrication and Component Procurement at IBM and Sperry Univac, 1960-1975” History and Technology 25:3 (September 2009): 219-237.
“Internet Challenges for Non-Media Industries, Firms, and Workers: Travel Agencies, Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, Personal Computer Manufacturers, and IT Services Professionals”. In William Aspray and Paul Ceruzzi, eds., The Internet and American Business (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008): 315-350.
“History of Computer Security Standards.” In Karl de Leuuw, ed., History of Information Security (Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 2007): 595-621.
IBM Rochester: A Half Century of Innovation (IBM, 2007). [Co-written with Arthur L. Norberg].
“Maximization and Marginalization: A Brief Examination of the History and Historiography of the U.S. Computer Services Industry.” Entreprises et Histoire 40 (November 2005): 87-101.
“Computers and the Internet: Braiding Irony, Paradox, and Possibility.” in Carroll Pursell, ed. Companion to American Technology (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2005): 340-360.
The Computer Industry (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2005).
“Reprogramming the Hippocratic Oath: The Early History of Medical Informatics and Privacy.” The History and Heritage of Scientific and Technological Information Systems (New Medford, New Jersey: Information Today for Chemical Heritage Foundation and American Society of Information Science, 2004): 46-55.
Bibliographic Guide to Resources in the History of Scientific Computing, 1945-1975 (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2002).
Timken: From Missouri to Mars--A Century of Leadership in Manufacturing (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press, 1998) [Bettye H. Pruitt with the assistance of Jeffrey R. Yost].
Have also conducted and published more than 80 career oral histories with computing pioneers, and another 250 oral histories with computer system users. Many of my career oral histories have more than 1,000 downloads, and one, more than 12,000. These oral histories are frequently cited in scholarly and journalistic articles and books.
“Oral History: Theory and Method,” ACM SIG History/Heritage Workshop, CBI, University of Minnesota (May 20, 2019).
“Discovering Diebold: IT Consulting and the Organizational Adoption of Computers.” First Friday Colloquium, University Libraries, University of Minnesota, April 11, 2017.
“The March of IDES: The Advent and Early History of Intrusion Detection Expert Systems.” Society for the History of Technology, Dearborn, Michigan, Nov 7, 2014.
“The Early History of U.S. Inter-firm Organizational Cooperation with Computer Security.” Business History Society of Japan, Tokyo, Japan, September 11, 2014.
“The Origin and Early History of the Computer Security Software Products Industry.” Computer Security History Workshop, Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, July 12, 2014.
“Access Control Software, Corporate Responsibility, and the Origin and Early History of the Computer Security Industry.” Business History Conference, Frankfurt, Germany, March 14, 2014.
“Diebold and Associates, Information Technology Consulting, and the Diffusion of Knowledge on Digital Computers and Applications Programming in the 1950s.” Business History Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, April 1, 2011.
“Materiel Command and the Materiality of Commands: An Historical Examination of the US Air Force, Control Data Corporation, and the Advanced Logistics Systems.” IFIP World Congress. Brisbane, Australia (September 22, 2010).
“Programming Enterprise: Women Entrepreneurs in Software and Services, 1965-1990.” Business History Conference. Athens, Georgia (March 26, 2010).
“The Evolving US Computer Services Industry as a Lens into Understanding Organizational Boundaries of Data Processing Operations: An Examination of the Defense and Banking Sectors, 1955-1975.” Copenhagen Business School (June 7, 2009).
“Appropriation and (In)dependence: Examining the British Tabulating Machine Company (BTM), IBM, and Burroughs at the Advent of the Computer Industry.” Appropriating America Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (January 17, 2009).
“Manufacturing Mainframes: Examining the Semiconductor Strategies of IBM and Sperry Univac, 1960-1975.” International Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology, Lisbon, Portugal (October 12, 2008).
“Examining Resources in the History of Computing and Software.” Society of the History of Technology, Washington, D.C. (October 20, 2007).
"The Internet and the Transformation of American Industries: A Case Study of Travel Reservations." Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada (October 13, 2006).
"Internet Challenges for Non-Media Industries, Firms, and Workers: Travel Agencies, Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, Personal Computer Manufacturers, and IT Services Professionals." Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany (July 24, 2006).
“A Brief Historical Examination of Business Strategy and Innovation in the Computer Services Industry.” Invited lecture, Computer Science and Engineering Colloquia (April 3, 2006).
“IT Business Archives, Interdisciplinary Research, and the Use and Abuse of History.” Invited lecture to faculty and graduate students, Strategic Management and Organization Department, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota (April 29, 2005).
“Reprogramming the Hippocratic Oath: The Early History of Medical Informatics and Privacy.” Conference on the History and Heritage of Scientific and Technological Information Systems, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (November 17, 2002).
“Chasing IBM: Common Challenges in British and U.S. Computer R&D Management in the 1950s” International Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology, Munich, Germany (August 18, 2000).
“An Historiographical and Bibliographical Examination of Scientific Computing” [Session Chair and Presenter] History of Science Society Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (November 6, 1999).
Editorial Board, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 2004 to present
Chair, IEEE Computer Society History Committee, 2013 to present
Editorial Board, Rutherford Journal: The New Zealand Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, 2010 to present
IEEE Publications Board Member (Ex Officio), 2008 - 2011
IEEE Magazines Operations Committee Member, 2008 - 2011
Editorial Advisory Board Member, Springer (History of Computing Series), 2009 to present
International Federation of Information Processing (IFIP) Working Group 9.7 History of Computers, 2003 to present
Committee Member, Da Vinci Medal Award Committee for Lifetime Achievement in the History of Technology. Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), 2002.
Chair, IEEE Life Members Prize Committee. Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), 2002.
Co-Principal Investigator, “Building an Infrastructure for Computer Security History,” National Science Foundation-sponsored project, 2011-2014
Co-Principal Investigator, “Designing and Using FastLane: Distilling Lessons From Cyberinfrastructures,”National Science Foundation-sponsored project, 2008-2011
Co-Principal Investigator, “Research Methods for Contemporary History,” National Science Foundation-sponsored project, 2007-2008
Principal Investigator, “Building a Future for Software History,” National Science Foundation-sponsored project, 1999-2004
Co-Principal Investigator, “The Computer as a Scientific Instrument,” National Science Foundation sponsored project, 1998-2001