Oral history interview with Robert M. Hayes

  • 2001-Feb-26
Photograph of Robert M. Hayes

Robert M. Hayes begins the interview with a discussion of his father's and his stepfather's affect on his life. He describes how he traveled frequently because of his stepfather's acting career, attending over sixteen different high schools before receiving his diploma. Hayes graduated from UCLA in 1947 with a BA in mathematics, and afterwards was drafted into the Navy. He recounts his acceptance into the Navy's V-12 program, and the courses he took for that program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. After the War, Hayes returned to UCLA, where he earned his MA in mathematics in 1949, and his PhD in mathematics in 1952. While earning his PhD , Hayes worked on information science at the National Bureau of Standards. In 1952, he decided to move into industry, and was hired at Hughes Aircraft. He describes his work at Hughes, where he programmed a computer to fly an airplane. Further, he recounts his teaching responsibilities in UCLA's University-extension program, which he continued in parallel with his experiences at Hughes. In 1954, Hayes began working at the National Cash Register Company, and a year later he moved to Magnavox Research Labs. He discusses the important developments in information storage and retrieval at Magnavox, such as the Minicard and the Magnacard systems, and his realization that his efforts at Magnavox could be taught to students. Eventually, Hayes was teaching at locations all over the United States, including American University, the University of Washington, and Wright Patterson Air Force Base. In 1960, Hayes was invited to join the Electrada Corporation, which he did, as vice-president. Hayes relates how, soon after joining Electrada, he and John Postley created Advanced Information Systems as a subsidiary of Electrada. Hayes also explains why he became a fulltime professor at UCLA at that time, and discusses his roles in the formation of the School of Library Service and the Institute for Library Research. In 1969, Joseph Becker and Robert Hayes started Becker and Hayes Incorporated, with the purpose of creating an interlibrary network for the State of Washington. Hayes discusses the obstacles he and Becker overcame to accomplish that task, and goes on to recount his work with NCLIS and the SILC system. Hayes concludes the interview with his interpretation of the relationship between information science and library science, and the importance of libraries and librarians.

Access this interview

Available upon request are 1 PDF transcript and 3 audio recording files.

After submitting a brief form, you will receive immediate access to these files. If you have any questions about transcripts, recordings, or usage permissions, contact the Center for Oral History at oralhistory@sciencehistory.org.

PDF — 85.8 KB
hayes_rm_0217_SUPPL.pdf