Campbell-Kelly, Martin 1945-

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CAMPBELL-KELLY, Martin 1945-

PERSONAL: Born December 2, 1945. Education: University of Manchester, B.S. (computer science), 1968; Council for National Academic Awards, Ph.D. (history of science), 1980.

ADDRESSES: Office—University of Warwick, Department of Computer Science, Coventry CV4 7AL, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Educator and author. Leicester Polytechnic, Leicester, England, reader in computer science, 1963-73; Sunderland Polytechnic, Sunderland, England, senior lecturer, 1973-80; University of Warwick, Warwick, England, lecturer, 1980-89, senior lecturer, 1989-94, reader in computer science, 1994—. Consultant to IBM UK, Oracle, SCO, ICL-Fujitsu, NPL, University College—Chester, and Manchester Business School.

MEMBER: British Computer Society, British Society for the History of Mathematics, British Society for the History of Science, Association of Business Historians, Society for the History of Technology (US), Business History Conference (US).

AWARDS, HONORS: University of Calgary research fellow, 1983; Smithsonian Institute research fellow, 1988; University of Manchester Simon senior research fellow, 1993-94; London School of Economics visiting fellow, 1996-99; Dibner Institute senior research fellow, 1998; grants from Economic and Social Research Council and Sloan Foundation for Technology.


An Introduction to Macros, American Elsevier (New York, NY), 1973.

The Computer Age, Wayland (Hove, East Sussex, England), 1978.

(Editor with Michael R. Williams) The Moore School Lectures: Theory and Techniques for Design of Electronic Digital Computers, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1985.

(Editor and author of introduction with M. R. Williams) The Early British Computer Conferences, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1989.

ICL: A Business and Technical History, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1989.

(Editor) The Works of Charles Babbage, New York University Press (New York, NY), 1989.

(Editor and author of introduction) Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1994.

(With William Aspray) Computer: A History of the Information Machine, Basic Books (New York, NY), 1996.

(Contributor) Karen R. Merrill, editor, The Modern Worlds of Business and Industry: Cultures, Technology, Labor, Brepols (Turnhout, Belgium), 1998.

From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor to periodicals, including Independent, Daily Telegraph, Business History Review, and Computing Research News. Member of editorial board of Annals of the History of Computing, Computer Journal, Iterations, MIT Press "Series in the History of Computing," and Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering. Consulting editor for McGraw-Hill UK.

SIDELIGHTS: Martin Campbell-Kelly is an educator, computer historian, and author. His books about computers, such as An Introduction to Macros and Computer: A History of the Information Machine, are used in college classrooms throughout the world.

In ICL: A Business and Technical History, published in 1989, Campbell-Kelly focuses on the history of the British computer industry, taking readers back to the twentieth-century roots of ICL and the British Tabulating Machine Company (BTM). Campbell-Kelly traces BTM's history through its merger with Power-Samas and the formation of International Computers and Tabulators, to the eventual formation of ICL and its competition with IBM. Business History Review critic Steven W. Usselman had mixed feelings about this work, noting that the book "does not yield easy generalizations" and lacks an introduction and an "explicit theme." Usselman did, however, praise the book's organization, noting that "Campbell-Kelly takes us through this history with a straightforward, chronological account. … The narrative moves through time in neat bundles."

According to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "Computer whizzes and novices alike will find a wealth of information and insights" in Campbell-Kelly's Computer: A History of the Information Machine. The author argues in this 1996 book that the history of the computer has been misrepresented. While most computer histories start with the development of early technologies, Campbell-Kelly and coauthor William Aspray begin their history with the manual mathematics performed before machines took over these duties. A reviewer for Kirkus Review felt that while the content of the book is sound, "the soporific sea of details presented here … may leave the lay reader seeking relief with the nearest video game." Joanne Yates in Business History noted that the book "covers an enormous amount of information," making it "useful to business historians as well as to general readers."

Campbell-Kelly's From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry focuses on software development from the 1950s to 1995. The author examines the industry's three sectors: software contracting, corporate software products, and mass-market software products. The chronology begins with the development of FORTRAN and COBOL, as well as military software, and continues with discussions of software development for many different products. Achievements of some of the major software companies such as Microsoft, Intel, and IBM are discussed, and the development of video-game software is included. "Many years of research went into this volume," concluded Colleen Cuddy in a review for Library Journal. "The result is a well-rounded look at the software industry from a business perspective." A reviewer for M2 Best Books expressed similar sentiments about the quality of information presented in the book, and concluded that From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog is "A fascinating, interesting book that deserves a much wider audience."



Booklist, August, 1996, David Rouse, review of Computer: A History of the Information Machine, p. 1858; March 15, 2003, David Siegfried, review of From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog: A History of the Software Industry, p. 1261.

Business History Review, summer, 1990, Steven W. Usselman, review of ICL: A Business and Technical History, pp. 367-371; October 1997, Joanne Yates, review of Computer, pp. 200-201.

ETC, summer, 1997, Martin H. Levinson, review of Computer, p. 256.

Guardian, April 12, 2003, Stephen Poole, review of From Airline Reservation to Sonic the Hedgehog.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1996, review of Computer.

Library Journal, February 15, 2003, Colleen Cuddy, review of From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog, p. 162.

M2 Best Books, April 28, 2003, review of From Airline Reservations to Sonic the Hedgehog.

Publishers Weekly, June 24, 1996, review of Computer, p. 40.


Martin Campbell-Kelly Home Page, (November 20, 2003).*

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