Computer Sciences: Macmillan Science Library

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9780028655666: Computer Sciences: Macmillan Science Library

Computer Sciences reviews the history of the discipline, provides overviews of concepts and profiles contributors in the field. The impact of computers on society is explored, with examples in literature and film to illustrate and support trends.

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Here is an attractive, readable set designed to present the history of computers and reflect on their purpose, use, and impact today. Nearly 300 entries are organized into four volumes, usually with black-and-white illustrations, photos, or charts. Signed entries are two to four pages long and often include sidebars, definitions for terms or concepts, see also references, and bibliographies with a handful of current sources, many of them online. University professors are among the contributors. Repeated at the beginning of each volume are the preface, tables of measurements, time lines, and table of contents. Each volume concludes with the same glossary and topic outline and a volume index, with a cumulative index at the end of volume 4.

Volume 1 (Foundations: Ideas and People) covers history; volume 2 (Software and Hardware), the nuts and bolts of the technology; volume 3 (Social Applications), how computers affect our everyday lives; and volume 4 (Electronic Universe), the networked society. Organization within each volume is alphabetical. Some representative subjects covered in volume 1 include Babbage, Charles; IBM Corporation; and Transistors. In volume 2 we learn about Client/server technology, Game controllers, and Touch screens; in volume 3, about Airline reserva tions, Educational software, and Spreadsheets; and in volume 4, Cookies, Global positioning systems, and Political applications. Several articles are current enough to include the 9/11 attacks and October 2001 anthrax letters.

There are so many interrelated topics that dividing them by volume is confusing to a user. Chemistry and Electronic campus are in volume 4, but Distance learning and Physics are in volume 3. Assistive computer technology for persons with disabilities is in volume 4, although it could be considered a social application. Art and Music composition are placed in different volumes. The topic outline lists entry headings under broad topics and might be helpful in providing an overview, but it gives no indication of the volumes in which the entries can be found.

For academic libraries, the standard Encyclopedia of Computer Science (4th ed., Grove, 2000) will probably be adequate, even though this field changes so rapidly. High-school and public libraries where there is emphasis on technology may want to add this set for its detailed coverage of people, concepts, and applications. RBB
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

From School Library Journal:

Grade 9 Up-Each volume in this set is devoted to a different aspect of the computing world. While this arrangement is great for looking up related subjects, it presents a barrier to finding those topics that could fall into any of the volumes. Fortunately, each book also includes numerous cross-references and an outline that groups set contents thematically; volume four has a comprehensive index. The first volume focuses on the history of the technology and covers significant people and topics from Blaise Pascal and MP3 to digital photography and numerous businesses, associations, and organizations. The concepts, equipment, and areas central to the development of today's computers, such as games, e-mail, and artificial intelligence, are also covered. Volume two includes types and specific computer languages, programming, components, devices, and networking. Computer applications in medicine, "aesthetic and intellectual pursuits," and day-to-day equipment such as ATMs and cell phones are examined in the third volume. The final volume covers the ways modern life is changing and/or being affected by computers (e.g., cybercafes, surveillance) and the issues that take on new meaning in the electronic world (e.g., censorship, copyright). There is a good amount of overlap among the volumes. The authoritative articles are consistently readable, well organized, and easy to follow. Average-quality, black-and-white photographs and diagrams are scattered throughout. Sidebars present interesting, related topics, facts, and personalities. Terminology is defined in the margins and volume glossaries. An accessible, up-to-date resource.
Jeffrey A. French, Euclid Public Library, OH
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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