Roger Summit

"the father of online systems" (Saul Herner, 1996)

"the man who more than any other single individual, was responsible for the online industry as we know it today" (Jeffrey Pemberton, 1992)

Roger Kent Summit

born 1930 Detroit, Michigan

grew up in Dearborn

parents both teachers; father a teacher/guidance counselor who played piano and organ for silent movies

brother is a psychiatrist

married 1964 to Ginger - Virginia M. Summit, active in Los Altos Hills, California City Council

daughter Jennifer is Professor of English, Stanford University

son Scott is CTO of Bespoke Innovations, a medical device company

Stanford University, BA in psychology 1952, MBA 1957, PhD in management science 1965

his work in information retrieval began when he took a summer job at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company in 1960

responsible for design and development in 1966 of the world's first large-scale, computer-based interactive information retrieval system

plays piano, horn, and trombone; is in two big band jazz orchestras in the Bay Area, one called the Daddio band

A New Professionalism

Summit: My third idea on shaping the emerging online industry is that I think online created a new profession of librarians. Ardito: Can you say a little bit more about the new librarians? Do you mean that online created a different profession or a specialized segment of it? Summit: Or was it just a tool? Online provided a tool to the research librarian. That'a term I use a lot, as opposed to "information specialist." I just talk about "research librarians" and people seem to understand that that's something beyond the custodial librarian. So considering the profession of research librarianship, Dialog gave the research librarian a new tool. You could say that it's just a new tool, the this person was doing research before, using manual tools, and then this computer comes along, so you get a computer tool, but it's still a research librarian. It is a question of when a difference in degree becomes a difference in kind. I think that the combination of the computer and the massive databases really represents a difference in kind, in terms of what the profession can do and what the professional librarian can do. Bjorner: In many ways, I think, because it's more active, rather than being passive, it also opens up beyond the specialties. When you're a librarian with books or with printed materials, you're very often focusing on a certain subject area as an individual. But having the world of information at your fingertips makes you think in a different way, too. Summit: Yes, and there is a skill associated with it. It's a different skill that needs to be learned. It is an extension of other skills in terms of the interpersonal, in terms of a more expressive ability. I think we've created a different professionalism within librarianship. When we started seeing in job postings Dialog searching ability as one of the requirements, we thought that online had arrived. And we saw that people putting out their resumes would state experience in searching Dialog. -- from "Online Before the Internet, Part 4: Early Pioneers Tell Their Stories: Roger Summit"

Roger Kent Summit

professional biography of Roger Summit

Reflections on the Beginnings of Dialog - The Birth of Online Information Access

Knight-Ridder and Online Information

Online Before the Internet: Early Pioneers Tell Their Stories

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