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Joseph F. and Vary T. Coates Papers

Joseph F. and Vary T. Coates Papers

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Descriptive Summary

Title: Joseph F. and Vary T. Coates Papers
Identification: MS175
Date: 1969-2004 (bulk 1975-1998)
Size/Quantity: 6.0 linear feet (8 document cases and 1 flat file folder)
Language: This collection is written in English.
Creator: Coates, Joseph F., (Joseph Francis), 1929- , Coates, Vary T.
Repository: Archives & Records Management, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology
Abstract:The manuscript materials in this collection focus mainly on the activities of Joseph Coates and Vary Coates in the field of technology assessment. The papers relate to technology assessment in the United States, especially the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, which functioned from 1972 to 1995. Some documentation of international technology assessment and the Institute for Technology Assessment (1996-1998) is also included.

Biographical/Historical Note

Joseph Francis Coates was born in 1929 in Brooklyn, NY. After receiving a B.S. in Chemistry from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (1951) and an M.S. degree in Organic Chemistry from Pennsylvania State University (1953), he worked for several years as a research chemist, first for the Atlantic Refining Company in Pennsylvania and later at the Onyx Chemical Company in New Jersey. In 1962, he became a senior staff member at the Institute for Defense Analyses, a position he held until 1970. Afterwards he spent four years as a Professor Manager at the National Science Foundation (1970-1974). Soon after the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) was established by Congress in 1972, he began work there, first as the Assistant to the Director (1975-1978) and then as a Senior Associate (1978-1979). In 1979, he left OTA to form his own consulting company, J. F. Coates Inc., which later became known as Coates and Jarratt Inc. He retired from Coates and Jarratt in April 2001, retaining emeritus status with the company thereafter. He continued his career as a speaker on issues related to technology assessment in the years following his retirement.

Born in 1930 in Anderson, South Carolina, Vary Taylor Coates received her undergraduate education at Furman University, graduating with an A.B. in Political Science in 1951. She later received an M.A. in Public Affairs (1967) and a Ph.D. in Political Science (1972) from George Washington University. After completing her degrees, she stayed on at GWU as Associate Director of the Program of Policy Studies in Science and Technology and as the Head of the Technology Assessment Group. During the late 1970s and early 1980s she was Director of Policy Studies at Dames and Moore. Sometime after the founding of J. F. Coates Inc. in 1979, she joined her husband in the company as Vice-President and Project Director. She became a Senior Associate in the Office of Technology Assessment in 1984, remaining in that position until the government ceased to fund the OTA in 1995. After OTA's closure, Vary Coates worked as President of the short-lived Institute for Technology Assessment until about 1998.

Throughout their long careers, both Joseph Francis and Vary Taylor Coates worked and published extensively in the field of technology assessment. Joseph Coates' activity in the field began with his position at the National Science Foundation, where he oversaw publications relating to a variety of aspects of technology assessment. While at the Office of Technology Assessment, he was part of the assessment staff for publications such as Telecommunications and the Quality of Life in Rural America (1975); he served as a consultant or contractor on several OTA publications after leaving the Office, including Information Technology R and D: Critical Trends and Issues (1985) and Rural America at the Crossroads: Networking for the Future (1991). During her employment at OTA, Vary Coates directed several assessment projects, including Automation of American Offices (1985), Electronic Bulls and Bears: U.S. Securities Markets and Information Technology (1990), and U.S. Telecommunications Services in European Markets (1993).


Scope and Content Note

The manuscript materials in this collection focus mainly on issues and activities relating to technology assessment and governmental involvement in technology assessment in the United States, especially the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, which functioned from 1972 to 1995. The first series contains manuscript and printed materials documenting the activities of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in the United States. Series 2 consists of a small amount of manuscript material on the Institute for Technology Assessment, a short-lived nonprofit organization that took up the cause of technology assessment after the OTA was closed in 1995. Papers, newsletters, press releases, and conference materials relating mainly to international technology assessment, especially technology assessment in Western Europe are included in Series 3. Series 4 consists of a small amount of material from the George Washington University Program of Policy Studies in Science and Technology, where Vary Coates completed her doctoral studies and served as Associate Director. The correspondence of Joseph Coates and Vary Coates is found in Series 5, and Joseph and Vary Coates' writings have been placed in Series 6.


Arrangement

The collection is divided into six series:

SERIES 1, Office of Technology Assessment, is further subdivided into four subseries: Subseries 1. History and background; Subseries 2. Contractors drafts; Subseries 3. Publication drafts and notes; and Subseries 4. Printed materials. SERIES 5 and 6 are subdivided into two subseries, according to the author of the correspondence or writings (Joseph Coates or Vary Coates).

SERIES 1. Office of Technology Assessment

SERIES 2. Institute for Technology Assessment

SERIES 3. International Technology Assessment

SERIES 4. George Washington University Program of Policy Studies in Science and Technology

SERIES 5. Correspondence

SERIES 6. Writings


Index Terms

Institute for Technology Assessment.
Program of Policy Studies in Science and Technology.
Technology and state--United States.
Technology assessment--United States.
Technology assessment.
United States. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Please cite [Folder Title, Series Title,] Joseph F. and Vary T. Coates Papers (MS175), Archives, Library and Information Center, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Provenance

Obtained by gift, 2004 (accession #2004.085).

Processing Information

Christine de Catanzaro processed these papers in October 2005.

Accruals

Cataloging of the print publications is in process at the time of processing (October 2005). Titles will continue to be added to the library's catalog as cataloging is completed.

Revisions to Finding Aid

June 2006:
  • Finding aid updated to comply with Describing Archives: A Content Standard. April 2010: Finding aid imported into Archivists' Toolkit.

  • Restrictions

    Restrictions: Access

    None.

    Restrictions: Use

    Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


    Separated Material

    This collection includes almost 800 books and monographs, almost 600 of which are publications of the Office of Technology Assessment. The OTA publications include monographs, background papers, summaries, special reports and many other publications, on numerous topics in science and technology. Publications such as annual reports of the OTA itself are also included. Books on American and international technology assessment published by others, such as the National Science Foundation, also form part of this collection, as well as print copies of most of the U.S. congressional hearings on the Office of Technology Assessment that took place during the last half of the twentieth century. These 800 titles are being cataloged and added to the Georgia Tech library's collection, as part of the archival holdings.


    Related Material

    The OTA Legacy website, maintained by Princeton University, includes historical notes on the Office of Technology Assessment and a full electronic archive of all OTA publications.


    Other Finding Aids

    A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.


    Selected Bibliography

    Bimber, Bruce A. The Politics of Expertise in Congress: The Rise and Fall of the Office of Technology Assessment. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1996. Ferwerda, Vernon L. The Office of Technology Assessment: Congress Creates an Institution for Social Impact Evaluation. Troy, NY: Center for Technology Assessment--Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1976.


    Container List

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    SERIES 1: Office of Technology Assessment, 1972-1995; undated.

    1.6 Linear feet (4 document cases)

    Scope and Content

    SERIES 1 contains manuscript and printed materials documenting the activities of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in the United States.

    In addition to the manuscript materials in Series 1, this collection includes almost 600 of the Office of Technology Assessment publications. Vary T. Coates served as Project Director for several of these publications; Joseph F. Coates often contributed as either a contractor or consultant. These titles are being catalogued as part of the Georgia Tech library's collection.



    SERIES 1, Subseries 1: History and Background, 1972-1993.

    0.4 Linear feet (1 document case)

    The first subseries of SERIES 1 provides an historical background to the OTA through newspaper clippings and articles, through texts of the congressional act and other congressional statements about the Office, and through pamphlets and booklets published by the Office. Particularly interesting is the draft copy of An OTA Handbook, a document written by Vary T. Coates to provide orientation to OTA practices and procedures for employees.

    The folders in Subseries 1 are organized chronologically.

    Box

    Fldr

    11 The Technology Assessment Act of 1972, December 1972
    12 "OTA Fact Sheets", 1976; undated
    13 Report of the Chairman - Technology Assessment Board, 94th Congress, December 1976
    14Clippings re: Office of Technology Assessment, 1968-1977; undated
    15 Statements re: Office of Technology Assessment before Subcommittee on Science, Research and Technology, March 1978
    16Papers, articles re: Office of Technology Assessment, 1969-1978; 1995-1996
    17 "OTA Priorities 1979", January 1979
    18 "An OTA Handbook" (draft), June 1982
    19 OTA Focus newsletter, May 1985
    110Clippings, 1988-1990
    111 "What OTA Is, What OTA Does, and How OTA Works", July 1988
    112 OTA Assessment Activities, May 1991
    113 Policy Analysis at OTA: A Staff Assessment, May 1993



    SERIES 1, Subseries 2: Contractors drafts, 1976-1990.

    0.4 Linear feet (1 document case)

    The main activity of the Office of Technology Assessment, which was to provide Congress with information and research on a variety of technological and scientific issues, is reflected in its numerous publications. Most of the results of the research on each topic were published in full-length books, in shorter background papers, and in pamphlet-sized summaries. Series 1, Subseries 2 consists of a group of drafts submitted to OTA by scientific companies and consultants, who were hired as contractors to carry out some of the research for these publications.

    Arranged alphabetically by title.

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    21 Critical Connections: Communication for the Future, 1990
    22 Insurance, undated
    23 A Management Overview Methodology for Technology Assessment, February 1981
    24 First Year Work Plan: An Integrated Technology Assessment of Electric Utility Energy Systems, 1976
    25 A Process for Technology Assessment Based on Decision Analysis, undated
    26 A Summary of the Doctoral Dissertation 'A Decision Theoretic Model of Congresional Technology Assessment', undated
    27 Technology As Social Organization, January 1981
    28 Technology Assessment in Asia: Pitfalls and Potential, January 1981
    29 Technology Assessment in the Private Sector: Some Findings of Potential Use to OTA, January 1981



    SERIES 1, Subseries 3: Publication drafts and notes, 1975-1994.

    0.5 Linear feet

    Series 1, Subseries 3 contains drafts of some of the Office of Technology Assessment publications.

    Arranged alphabetically by title.

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    31 Anticipating the Impacts of Legislation (repro master), June 1979
    32 An Assessment of Community Planning for Mass Transit(summary report), November 1975
    33 Biological Effects of Power Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields (background paper), 1989
    34 Global Standards: Building Blocks for the Future (draft), 1992
    35 Information Security and Privacy in Network Environments, 1994
    36 Patents and the Commercialization of New Technology (draft), March 1984
    37 A Program in Telecommunications, Computers and Information Policies (draft), September 1977

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    41 Technology and the Quality of Life in Rural America, Summary and Conclusions (draft), August 1975
    42 Telecommunications, Computers and Information Policy (working group workbook), June 1977



    SERIES 1, Subseries 4: Printed materials, 1976-1995.

    0.3 Linear feet

    Subseries 4 includes printed materials such as news releases, report briefs and small pamphlets issued by the Office of Technology Assessment.

    News releases, report briefs, and pamphlets are grouped together.

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    43Memoranda, 1984-1993
    44News releases, 1976-1979
    45News releases, 1981-1985; 1988
    46News releases, 1990
    47News releases, 1991-1992
    48News releases, 1993-1994
    49 OTA's One Pager, 1978
    410 OTA Publication Brief, 1979-1981
    411 OTA Report Brief, 1982; 1985-1987
    412 OTA Report Brief, 1988-1990
    413 OTA Report Brief, 1991-1992
    414 OTA Report Brief, 1993; 1995
    415 OTA Update - Trading Around the Clock, undated
    416 "Health Care Reform", 1993
    417 "Coastal Effects of Offshore Energy Systems", December 1976
    418 "Proposed New Energy Technologies off the Shores of New Jersey and Delaware", undated
    419 "The Automobile: It's Driving Us to Think", August 1978
     

    SERIES 2: Institute for Technology Assessment, 1995-1998; undated.

    0.2 Linear feet

    Scope and Content

    SERIES 2 contains a small amount of manuscript material on the Institute for Technology Assessment, a short-lived nonprofit organization that took up the cause of technology assessment after the OTA was closed in 1995. Largely funded by grant money, the ITA operated from early 1996 to about 1998 with Vary T. Coates as President, and Joseph F. Coates as one of the Directors. Documents include unpublished papers, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and a publication list of the organization.

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    51Institute for Technology Assessment, 1996-1997; undated
    52Institute for Technology Assessment, 1995-1998
    52Institute for Technology Assessment, 1995-1998
    52Institute for Technology Assessment, 1995-1998
    53Institute for Technology Assessment: Clippings, 1995-1996
    54Institute for Technology Assessment: Publication lists, undated
     

    SERIES 3: International Technology Assessment, 1973-2004; undated.

    0.4 Linear feet

    Scope and Content

    SERIES 3 includes papers, newsletters, press releases, and conference materials relating mainly to international technology assessment, especially technology assessment in Western Europe. Both Joseph and Vary Coates maintained connections to the international technology assessment community by publishing in foreign journals and speaking at international conferences. Both names appear frequently in this series.

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    61Author and title indexes: Journal of the International Society for Technology Assessment, December 1975
    62Consensus conference and technology assessment, 1995-1998; undated
    63EU-US Scientific Seminar program (Seville, Spain), May 2004
    64 "Impact of Cable Television on Education" (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers), 1975
    64a "Parliamentary Technology Assessment in Europe: A Comparative Perspective" (draft), December 7, 1990
    65 Postnote 74, 77, 79-84 (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, Britain), 1996
    66Press release: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1974
    67Press release: Technology Assessment: A Feminist Perspective, undated
    68 Project Publication (Danish Board of Technology), 1992-1995
    69 "Public Assessment of Technology" (pamphlet), undated
    610Rathenau Institute, 1995; undated
    611 Social Science Technology Research and Technology Assessment: A Bibliography (draft), February 1983
    611a "State-of-the-Art Report on Technology Assessment in the United States Government", January 1981 undated
    612 "Technology Assessment in Sweden: Nine Case Studies", 1973
    612a "Technology Assessment, Soviet Style", June 1980
    613 "Workshop on Creating an Institutional Structure to Provide Science and Tech Advice to the U.S. Congress", June 14, 2001
     

    SERIES 4: George Washington University Program of Policy Studies in Science and Technology, 1969-1972; undated.

    3.0 Linear feet (1 folder, 1 flat file folder)

    Scope and Content

    SERIES 4 consists of a small amount of material from the George Washington University Program of Policy Studies in Science and Technology, where Vary Coates completed her doctoral studies and served as Associate Director. The series mainly contains a group of studies in the form of oversize charts, presenting analytical frameworks and social impact studies of technology assessment, social justice, civil aviation, and other subjects relating to public policy.

    Fldr

    1Analytical frameworks, social impact studies, 1969-1972; undated

    Box

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    614Project descriptions list (incomplete), undated
     

    SERIES 5: Correspondence--Joseph and Vary Coates, 1975-1998; undated.

    0.4 Linear feet (1 document case)

    Arrangement

    The correspondence in each of the two subseries is arranged chronologically.

    Scope and Content

    SERIES 5 is made up of the correspondence of Joseph Coates and Vary Coates. The letters focus almost exclusively on topics relating to technology assessment. Particularly well-documented in the correspondence of Vary Coates are the months leading up to the closing of the Office of Technology Assessment, especially her efforts to save the office from closure. Some folders also include articles on the OTA. series is divided into two subseries: Subseries 1 contains the correspondence of Joseph Coates; Subseries 2 contains that of Vary Coates.



    SERIES 5, Subseries 1: Correspondence--Joseph Coates, 1975-1991.

    7.0 folders

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    71Correspondence, 1975
    72Correspondence, 1976-1977
    73Correspondence, 1979-1980
    74Correspondence, 1983; undated
    75Correspondence, 1986
    76Correspondence, 1989
    77Correspondence, 1991



    SERIES 5, Subseries 2: Correspondence--Vary Coates, 1975-1998.

    9.0 folders

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    78Correspondence, 1975
    79Correspondence, 1980-1990
    710Correspondence, 1982 undated
    711Correspondence, December 1994-January 1995
    712Correspondence, February-May 1995
    713Correspondence, June 1995
    714Correspondence, July-August 1995
    715Correspondence (includes articles on OTA), September 1995
    716Correspondence (includes article on TA), 1998
     

    SERIES 6: Writings--Joseph and Vary Coates, 1974-2001; undated.

    0.4 Linear feet (1 document case)

    Arrangement

    The writings in each of the two subseries are arranged alphabetically by title.

    Scope and Content

    SERIES 6 includes unpublished and published drafts, excerpts, and prints of articles and book reviews on technology assessment by Joseph Coates and Vary Coates. (See also Series 1, Subseries 2 and 3. Both Joseph and Vary Coates published extensively in this field. Copies of the print publications in this collection have been catalogued and added to the Georgia Tech library's holdings.



    SERIES 6, Subseries 1: Writings--Joseph Coates, 1975-1998.

    8.0 folders

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    81 Anticipating the Environmental Effects of Technology (excerpt), November 1975
    82Articles, 1977-1979
    83Book reviews, notes, 1974-1989; undated
    84Book review, October 1978 undated
    85Speeches, February 1975
    86 Telecommunications and the Quality of Life in Rural America (draft) (folder 1 of 3), August 1975
    87 Telecommunications and the Quality of Life in Rural America (draft) (folder 2 of 3), August 1975
    88 Telecommunications and the Quality of Life in Rural America (draft) (folder 3 of 3), August 1975



    SERIES 6, Subseries 2: Writings--Vary Coates, 1974-2001.

    1.0 folder

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    Fldr

    89Articles, 1974-2001