[9]Barriers to INfo Gender EthniCulture Monery

[9]Barriers to INfo Gender EthniCulture Monery - Module 9...

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Module 9: Barriers to Information Access Part 2: Gender, Ethnicity/Culture, & Socioeconomic Status In the previous module we looked at some physical and logistical barriers to information access. In this section we will look at some cultural and gender-related ones. Gender How can gender function as a barrier to access? While most librarians now are women, originally the profession of librarianship, like most professions prior to the 1800s, was predominantly composed of men. This is a logical outgrowth of library history, inasmuch as most libraries developed from monastic collections founded in the Middle Ages, and from academic libraries in institutions limited to male students. This gender-segregation of libraries began to change in the mid-1800s, especially in the United States, as Melvil Dewey began to standardize the foundations of classification and helped establish librarianship as a profession. Many of his most ardent supporters were women, usually widowed or single, seeking to find a way to make an independent living in the developing Western states. By the early 1900s, most public librarians were female while most academic librarians were still male. But while the library science field became feminized, men dominated the growing area of computer science, most especially development and programming. This is a complex social issue and one we could easily spend far more than one week examining, but this section will briefly scan the history and status of gender and computing. ____________________________________________________________________________ ________ Ada Lovelace In the beginning was Charles Babbage and his "difference engine," one of the first attempts to create a computing machine. This was around 1830, long before the first computers were actually developed. Babbage's proposed engine, which sadly was never actually completely built, was intended to analyze mathematical logs and tables by means of a steam-driven machine (see the Science Museum page on Babbage under Suggested Readings). While Babbage's engine never came to full fruition, he is widely considered to be the "father of computing" for his forward-thinking ideas. But if Babbage is the father of computing, his longtime friend Ada Lovelace (daughter of Lord Byron, George Gordon) may be considered the mother of programming. She met Babbage at an early age, and, as they shared a love of mathematics and logic, were natural companions. As Babbage's concept of a "difference engine" evolved to an "analytical engine," it was Lovelace who conceived of a language in which the conceptual device could be programmed to fulfill its tasks. She also believed that as such "engines" became more sophisticated, they might move beyond simple calculations to such operations as creating images and music and utilization outside of purely scientific endeavors. While her proposed programming language,
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like Babbage's engines, was not ultimately realized, she is usually recognized as the first theoretical programmer. ____________________________________________________________________________ ________ World War II and after
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2009 for the course INF 304w taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '09 term at University of Texas.

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[9]Barriers to INfo Gender EthniCulture Monery - Module 9...

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