William Aspray, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow

William Aspray

Contact: william.aspray@icloud.com

Specialties and Interests

Computer history, information history, everyday information behavior, information policy, food studies, and broadening participation in computing.  

Work Experience

Current Position

I am a Senior Research Fellow at the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Previous Positions

In recent years, I have been a senior faculty member in the information schools at Indiana (Bloomington), Texas (Austin), and Colorado (Boulder). Before that, I held leadership positions in professional non-profit organizations: the Charles Babbage Institute, the IEEE History Center, and Computing Research Association. Early in my career, I taught at Williams and Harvard. I have also held secondary, part-time faculty positions at Virginia Tech and Penn. 


I have a BA and MA in mathematics from Wesleyan and a PhD in history of science from Wisconsin (Madison). I have also done graduate study with Michael Mahoney and Thomas Kuhn at Princeton and with Kenneth May at Toronto.

Current Research

1. American case studies and general reflections on information history

2. Does technology really outstrip information policy and regulation in the US? (With Philip Doty)

3. Ongoing studies of misinformation and its history (sometimes with James Cortada)

Selected Publications

  • Authenticity: Understanding Misinformation Through the Study of Heritage Tourism (with James Cortada, Rowman & Littlefield)
  • Information Issues for Older Americans (Rowman & Littlefield)
  • Deciding Where to Live: Information Studies on Where to Live in America (with Melissa Ocepek, Rowman & Littlefield)
  • Fake News Nation (with James Cortada, Rowman & Littlefield).
  • From Urban Legends to Political Fact-Checking (with James Cortada, Springer).
  • Computing and the National Science Foundation, 1950-2016 (with Peter Freeman and W. Richards Adrion, ACM Books).
  • Food in the Internet Age (with George Royer and Melissa Ocepek, Springer).
  • Computer: A History of the Information Machine (3rd ed., with Martin Campbell-Kelly, Nathan Ensmenger, and Jeffrey Yost, Westview).
  • Everyday Information (ed., with Barbara Hayes, MIT Press).
  • Globalization and the Offshoring of Software (ed., with Frank Mayadas and Moshe Vardi, ACM).
  • Women and Information Technology (ed., with JoAnne Cohoon, MIT Press).
  • John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing (MIT Press).