The IEEE Annals of the History of Computing invites submissions for a special issue entitled “Computing & Maintenance.” Edited by Andrew Russell (SUNY Polytechnic Institute) and Lee Vinsel (Virginia Tech), this special issue will illustrate the many ways that maintenance is an important and multi-faceted theme in the history of computing broadly conceived.
Maintenance is a rich theme that sits in a paradoxical position–both universally appreciated and yet undervalued. There has been a marked increase in recent years on scholarship about maintenance and related topics, such as repair and infrastructure. This work has sharpened scholarly and public appreciation for maintenance and maintainers, the people entrusted to do maintenance work. Nevertheless, the fields of history of technology, history of computing, and science & technology studies have a pronounced bias in favor of invention, innovation, and novelties–a bias that has systematically discouraged scholarship that might provide a richer understanding of maintenance and its varying roles in technological systems and broader social and cultural contexts.
This special issue will shine a light on maintenance, with the goal of expanding knowledge about how computer technologies persist or decline, the varieties of work and workers who maintain computer systems, and perspectives on maintenance that may change over time and from different vantage points. We welcome submissions that use maintenance to stretch the geographical, temporal, and methodological frames for understanding computing in history, especially including to places outside of the United States and Europe. We are also interested in receiving submissions that draw on ethnographic research.
Maintenance in computing is a topic that is also widely distributed across industries, academia, and other cultural spheres. For this reason, we are keen to receive papers from non-academic practitioners as well as junior scholars and scholars from underrepresented backgrounds. Submissions can also take several forms, including non-traditional ones, not only historical essays but also oral histories and personal reflections and memoirs. The guest editors are eager to respond to ideas for non-traditional submissions, and find creative ways to bring these ideas to fruition.
A few sample topics of interest include:
- Maintenance work in early computational systems and networks
- Companies and software designed for maintenance management
- Maintenance work that illustrates inequities across class, race, and gender boundaries
- The status of maintenance in corporations, professional settings, museums, and archives
- The maintenance of public computer systems, for example in government, military, schools, and utilities
- Instances where external and/or internal pressures for change made maintenance difficult or impossible
- The professionalization of maintenance through conferences, certifications, and education
- The governance and politics of maintenance
- Personal anecdotes or interviews that feature maintenance and computing
- Representations of maintenance in science fiction
For author information and guidelines on submission criteria, please visit Annals‘ Author Information page. Please submit papers through the ScholarOne system, and be sure to select the special-issue name. Manuscripts should not be published or currently submitted for publication elsewhere. Please submit only full papers intended for review, not abstracts, to the ScholarOne portal.
The deadline for submissions of full papers is 31 December 2023, with abstracts due in August 2023. Authors who would like feedback on a proposal should send it to the co-editors no later than August 31, 2023.
Contact the guest editors at email@example.com.
- Andy Russell
- Lee Vinsel