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Joseph F. and Vary T. Coates Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS175

  • Staff Only

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.

Dates

  • 1969-2004 (bulk 1975-1998)
  • Majority of material found within 1975 - 1998

Creator

General Physical Description note

(8 document cases and 1 flat file folder)

Restrictions: Access

None.

Restrictions: Use

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

Extent

6 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

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.

Biography of Joseph F. and Vary T. Coates

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).

Arrangement

The collection is divided into six series:

Missing Title

  1. SERIES 1. Office of Technology Assessment
  2. SERIES 2. Institute for Technology Assessment
  3. SERIES 3. International Technology Assessment
  4. SERIES 4. George Washington University Program of Policy Studies in Science and Technology
  5. SERIES 5. Correspondence
  6. SERIES 6. Writings
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).

Location note

42A3, Drawer 1g (flat file)

Other Finding Aids

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

Provenance

Obtained by gift, 2004 (accession #2004.085).

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.

Related Materials

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.

Separations

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.

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.

General Physical Description note

(8 document cases and 1 flat file folder)

Processing Information

Christine de Catanzaro processed these papers in October 2005.
Title
Inventory of the Joseph F. and Vary T. Coates Papers, 1969-2004 (bulk 1975-1998)
Subtitle
MS175
Status
Completed
Author
Christine de Catanzaro
Date
Copyright 2005.
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Contact:
Library
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404-894-4586