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Academic Libraries and Automation: A Historical Reflection on Ralph Halsted Parker
portal: Libraries and the Academy (2014)
  • C. Sean Burns, University of Kentucky
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.
  • Academic Libraries,
  • Automation,
  • Ralph Halsted Parker
Publication Date
January 1, 2014
Publisher Statement

This article first appeared in portal: Libraries and the Academy, v. 14, no. 1 (Jan. 2014): 87-102.

Copyright © 2013 The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Citation Information
C. Sean Burns. "Academic Libraries and Automation: A Historical Reflection on Ralph Halsted Parker" portal: Libraries and the Academy Vol. 14 Iss. 1 (2014)
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