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Human Services Technology: 

Understanding, Designing, and Implementing Computer and Internet Applications in the Social Services

Author: Dick Schoech, Ph.D., Professor, U of Texas at Arlington, Box 19129, Arlington TX 76019 <>

An PDF version of this book is available for those who become HUSITA members by joining the HUSITA listserv

Publication information:  Published  June 99 by Haworth Press (now Taylor & Francis). 440 pp with index.  ISBN 0-7890-0108-X.  Click here for a link to purchase the book at

Web site associated with the book:  Click here. 

Examination Policy:  The book will be sent with an invoice and, if the professor chooses to adopt the book, the invoice will be cancelled and the exam copy will become his/her desk copy. If the professor finds the title inappropriate for the classroom, there is a return label provided. Once the return is received, the invoice
will be cancelled. The professor may also choose to purchase the book for his/her personal library. They would then pay the invoice within the 60 day period.


Human Services Technology helps users understand, design, and implement computer and Internet applications. It synthesizes information in the field of computer science, systems analysis, information management, networking, and telecommunications, within the context of the human service environment. This book not only presents types and examples of applications, but also focuses on how an agency or individual designs, develops, implements, and manages applications. It provides human service professionals with a basic framework for moving into the information age.

This book is divided into four parts.

Part 1 consists of two chapters that introduce technology use, basic terms, and history. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to human service information technology (IT) using scenarios that present typical uses. The reader is given a suggestion of what IT means to the client, practitioner, manager, and policy planner. Chapter 2 introduces human services and IT concepts and presents their historical context.

Part II consists of three chapters that present the variety of technology available in the human services. Chapter 3 presents generic IT applications that one would finds in the human services. Chapter 4 discusses several types of management applications. Chapter 5 presents human service applications from the policy making to client self help levels of the human service delivery system.

Part III consists of six chapters that discuss designing and implementing IT applications and the influences on IT design and implementation. Chapter 6 presents the process of developing any IT application. Chapter 7 presents the theories of systems and decision-making that underlay IT applications. Chapter 8 shows how the information needs of human service professionals and organizations influences IT development. Chapter 9 discusses hardware and software influences and Chapter 10 discusses database management influences on IT development. Chapter 11 completes part III by discussing networking and telecommunications influence on IT development.

Part IV consists of two chapters concerned with maintaining and supporting IT. Chapter 12 discusses managing, supporting, and evaluating IT. Chapter 13 presents future trends and issues.

In essence, the focus of this book is to assist human service professionals to become intelligent designers and users of computer and Internet technology to support practice. Readers become intelligent users by understanding information technology as a societal phenomenon and as a tool for improving the decisions made when helping clients.

Important areas or topics covered

  1. Computer networking and the Internet
  2. Implementing technology applications
  3. Information systems and data base management systems
  4. Speculation about the future of human services technology
  5. Historical context of human services information technology
  6. Overview of technology applications at the policy, management, service delivery, and client self-help levels of the human services
  7. Managing and evaluating technology applications
  8. Human services information needs
  9. Teaching about information technology and distance education

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