Academic libraries and automation: A historical reflection on Ralph Halsted Parker

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5 Scopus citations


This paper provides a historical account of Ralph Halsted Parker and his work to automate libraries in the early to middle parts of the twentieth century. One of Parker's motivations to automate stemmed from a desire to professionalize academic librarianship, and this is evident in his administration as library director at the University of Missouri. Importantly, the motivation implies a simple means of judging the critical use of technology: that any substantive technology should be evaluated by how well it benefits librarians. Parker's additional contributions included consulting and coauthoring, with Frederick G. Kilgour, the report that led to the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), the world's largest bibliographic database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-102
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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