The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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Six Books on Computer Literacy (The Story of Computers (Donald Spencer), Computers (William R. Corliss), The First Book of Information Science (Joseph Becker), Computers in Action (Donald Spencer), Understanding Computers (Thomas H, Crowley), The Way Things Work Book of the Computer)
Computers: Tools for Today (review, by Claude J. DeRossi, 1972)

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BOOKS ON COMPUTER LITERACY
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Peter Olivieri
Boston College
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There are a great many textbooks, journals, articles, and publications that
deal, on an instructional level, with the art and science of computing. However,
these are often too technical for the casual reader, the individual who is
merely seeking a brief introduction to what computers and computing is all
about. These people have needs that I feel we all too often overlook. Providing
the general public with more information about computers is something that we
all should strive for. As computers become more commonplace, it is not unusual
to find elementary school children (as early as Grade 3) being exposed to these
machines. Materials need to be developed that provide a non-technical,
informative, and meaningful introduction to computers for people from age six to
sixty. I have recently reviewed several such publications and present them here
for addition to your memory banks should you have occasion to recommend
something to a relative, friend, or acquaintance. This is by no means a
collectively exhaustive list of all materials of this type, but rather a
beginning.
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THE STORY OF COMPUTERS. Donald Spencer. 64pp. Abacus Computer Corporation,
Ormond Beach, Florida 32074. Paper. 1975. A nicely illustrated, clear,
non-technical introduction to the world of computers. Geared for children in
Grades four through nine. Recommended for your young children. Includes: What
are computers? Who invented computers? What kinds of computers are there? How
does a computer work? How do I tell a computer what to do? What are some useful
computer terms?
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COMPUTERS. William R. Corliss. 9lpp. United States Atomic Energy Commission.
Office of Information Services. Paper. 1973. A very readable book. Quite current
(includes a section on optical reading of supermarket products). A little
technical in parts (negligible). Includes: Calculating Prodigies. The Birth of
Computers. Anatomy of a Computer. The Generation Gaps. Analog Computers. A
Reading List. Selected Motion Pictures (too few of them).
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THE FIRST BOOK OF INFORMATION SCIENCE. Joseph Becker. 9lpp. United States Atomic
Energy Commission. Office of Information Services. Paper. 1973. Not too much on
computers. Excellent for the information on information sciences. Good
photographs. Recommended for those with an interest in information and data.
Includes: What is information? Storing and retrieving information. Putting
information into a computer. Getting information from a computer.  Communicating
information. Finding information in microfilm. Future of information sciences.
Epilogue. Glossary and a reading list.
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COMPUTERS IN ACTION. Donald Spencer. 245pp. Hayden Book Company, New Jersey.
Paper. 1974. A guide for the layman, businessman, high school student, teacher,
or non-scientific college student. Excellent references at end of each chapter.
Easy reading but not quick reading. Somewhat like a textbook. Actually teaches
BASIC to the reader. Includes: The Computer Age, Computer Evolution, How
Computers Work, Getting Information In and Out of the Computer, Computer
Storage, Designing the Computer Program, The Language of the Computer,
Introduction to Computer Programming.
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UNDERSTANDING COMPUTERS. Thomas H. Crowley. l39pp. McGraw-Hill, New York. Paper.
1967. Written for high school teachers, business managers, and those with
limited technical background who are interested in finding out what the computer
business is all about. Not quick reading. A learning book rather than an
information book. Somewhat outdated though not critically so. Strongly
recommended for the serious layman. Includes: Introduction, Basic Computer
Functions, What Is Being Processed? Interpretation of Symbols, Memory,
Input-Output Operations, Symbol-Processing Operations, The Control Process,
Stored Program Computers, Programming, Applications of Computers, Computer
"Priests", What Does the Future Hold? 1984, Bibliography.
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THE WAY THINGS WORK BOOK OF THE COMPUTER. Simon and Schuster. New York. 245pp.
l974. This is an illustrated encyclopaedia of information science, cybernetics,
and data processing. Very nicely illustrated. Clear, two-color charts and
diagrams. Not light reading. Information packed. Some material a bit technical.
Certainly recommended for your bookshelf. Might be geared more for the
information or computer scientist, but there is enough here to satisfy many
tastes, Only disappointment was that it didn't go far enough in coverage.
Another volume would be well received. Includes: Information and Documentation,
Information and Cybernetics, Communication and Documentation, Statistics and
Thermal Processes, Control, Self-correction and Automation, Information Theory,
Redundancy, Cybernetics and Linguistics, Cybernetics and Physiology, Cybernetics
and Psychology, Cybernetics and Biology, Cybernetics in Teaching, Cybernetics in
Sociology, Cybernetics in Economics, Documentation, Number Systems, The Binary
System, Binary Arithmetic, Logical Operations, Electromagnetic Switches,
Electron Tubes, Semiconductor Logic Elements, Photo-electric Logic Elements,
Fluidic Switches, Mechanical Storage Devices, Magnetic Storage Devices, Acoustic
Data Storage Systems, Thin-Film Storage Devices, Analog Computation Principles,
Data Processing Systems, Machine Languages and Symbolic Languages, Programming,
Character Recognition, High Speed Printers and Filmsetting Techniques, Time
Sharing Systems, Data Transmission, Process Computers, Data Banks, Artificial
Intelligence.
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Computers: Tools for Today, by Claude J. DeRossi, $4.75; Children's Press,
Chicago, IL, 1972.
Claude DeRossi has done an excellent job in presenting the intricacies of the
computer world to the very young in his book entitled, Computers: Tools For
Today. The book is written at a level understandable by students of the upper
grades in elementary schools. The drawings by Margrit Fiddle together with the
pictures are especially helpful in illustrating some of the concepts presented.
The objective of the book is to present a general picture of what computers are
and what they can and cannot do. Some misconceptions concerning the capabilities
of computers are discussed toward the beginning of the book, pointing out to the
novice potential computer user that computers cannot solve all problems or
answer all questions.
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The book is well organized in that many facets of computers are discussed. The
readers are introduced to computers by first discussing the history of
computers. A couple of chapters discuss the capabilities and limitations of
computers. Other chapters include the discussion of the following computer
characteristics; input devices (punched cards and magnetic tape), how computers
work (add), the numbering system of computers (binary system), and computer
language (programs and how they are written including flow charts).
Joseph O. Garcia
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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[image] "He who has imagination without learning has wings and no feet."
Joseph Joubert

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