Carlos A. Cuadra
The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Carlos A. Cuadra, a pioneer in the field of information sciences, begins the interview by discussing his family and educational background. He describes how he continued his education while serving in the Navy during World War II. He did his undergraduate and graduate work in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and wrote his dissertation on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Upon graduation, Cuadra worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Downey, Illinois. While still in Downey, he was recruited by the RAND Corporation to work on projects related to the United States Air Force. He began work for RAND in the System Development Division, which split off and became System Development Corporation (SDC). Dr. Cuadra began to learn about computers and programming while he was working on intelligence project 466L for the Air Force. He was made head of the Intelligence Systems Branch of SDC and worked on various information systems such as MEDLARS II, MEDLINE, ORBIT, and ELHILL. He became interested in the developing field of information science. After meeting some of the pioneers of information science, he was surprised to learn that an annual review did not exist for that field. With the support of Hans Peter Luhn, IBM; Helen L. Brownson, National Science Foundation; and the American Documentation Institute, he started the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. Cuadra briefly worked as a consultant for the National Academy of Science's Committee on Scientific and Technical Information (COSATI), and was later appointed to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS), on which he served for thirteen years. By the time he became a member of NCLIS, he was the manager of the Education and Library Systems Department at SDC. During this time, Cuadra began to see a possible market for online information services. Within SDC, Cuadra created SDC Search Service, one of the first online retrieval services. In 1978 he founded his own company, Cuadra Associates (CA). CA was quite ahead of its time in that it foresaw the need for powerful information retrieval systems for in-house use. CA developed STAR, which was one of the first such systems. CA also published a directory of databases called the Directory of Online Databases. Cuadra concludes the interview with some thoughts about his work habits.
|1949||University of California, Berkeley||BA||Psychology|
|1953||University of California, Berkeley||PhD||Psychology|
Philadelphia Veterans Administration Hospital Medical Center
System Development Corporation
The Annual Review of Information Science and Technology
National Academy of Sciences
National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
Cuadra Associates, Inc.
University of California, Los Angeles
American Chemical Society
Phi Beta Kappa, University of California, Berkeley
Highest Honors, University of California, Berkeley
Merit Award, American Society for Information Science and Technology
Best Information Science Book Award, American Society for Information Science and Technology
Distinguished Lecturer, American Society for Information Science and Technology
Information Product of the Year, Information Industry Association
Hall of Fame Award, Information Industry Association
Miles Conrad Memorial Lecture Award, The National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services
Pioneer of Information Science, American Society for Information Science
Honorary Fellow, The National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services
Roger Summit Award, Association of Independent Information Professionals
Table of Contents
Growing up in San Francisco. Education while serving in the Navy during WWII. Undergraduate and graduate work in psychology at UC Berkeley. Post-graduate internships in clinical psychology.
Working for RAND Corporation and the US Air Force. Working at SDC and learning about computers. Air Force intelligence system project 466L. Working on other intelligence system projects at SDC.
Developing information systems, including MEDLARS II, MEDLINE, ORBIT, and ELHILL. Attempting to develop fingerprint analysis techniques. Creating the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. Becoming manager of Library and Documentation Systems Department at SDC.
Participating on COSATI. Sitting on NCLIS. Disagreements within NCLIS. Attempts to establish a National Periodicals Center.
Beginning to develop ideas for online information services. Managing SDC Search Service. Founding Cuadra Associates. Publishing the Directory of Online Databases. Creating STAR. Concluding thoughts.
About the Interviewer
Colin B. Burke had recently retired from the history department at the University of Maryland at Baltimore County and held a research fellowship at Yale University when he came to CHF. He spent his residency working on his book on the history of computer-based scientific information systems and related government policies, from the 1950s through the early 1990s. He received his PhD from Washington University in St. Louis and currently serves as associate professor emeritus at the University of Maryland. He also served as a Fulbright Scholar in Poland and as a scholar-in-residence at the National Security Agency.