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Definition: information technology from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Collective term for the various technologies involved in processing and transmitting information. They include computing, telecommunications, and microelectronics. The term became popular in the UK after the Government's ‘Information Technology Year’ in 1972.

Word processing, databases, and spreadsheets are just some of the computing software packages that have revolutionized work in the office environment. E-mail and the Internet have revolutionized business communications, and not only can work be done more quickly than before, but IT has given decision makers the opportunity to consider far more data when making decisions.

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Summary Article: Information Technology
from The SAGE Glossary of the Social and Behavioral Sciences

Although the term did not evolve until the 1970s, it has been used to describe any technology engaged in the inputting, processing, storage, transmission, and retrieval of information, such as the codex, printing systems, facsimile machines, satellites, and others. The modern idea of information technology (IT), however, involves the use of computers and computer-based management information systems. This modern idea of IT advanced along with computers, which evolved from vacuum tubes to transistors to integrated circuits to the computer chip. Changes in IT have affected individuals, industries, and society in profound ways.

IT professionals are responsible for computer and computer network systems within their organizations. Careers in IT include database administration, systems analysis, system development and programming, and end-user computing. IT departments are considered a supporting activity within an organization. They can be either centralized, in which case an enterprise has a central IT department, or decentralized, in which case the various departments or divisions have their own IT departments or personnel. The latter structure offers greater flexibility and specialization. A centralized IT department, however, is generally more cost-effective.

See also

Technology (media studies)

Copyright © 2009 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

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