Dale Baker begins the interview with a discussion of his early years and family background. Inspired by a high school teacher, Baker decided to major in chemical engineering upon entering Ohio State University in 1938, receiving his B.Ch.E. in 1942 and his M.Sc. in chemistry in 1948. While a student, Baker began working for the American Chemical Society's [ACS] Chemical Abstracts Service as an office boy. Aside from a brief time as a chemist working with explosives at DuPont, Baker spent his entire career with the ACS and Chemical Abstracts Service. In 1946, Baker became assistant editor of Chemical Abstracts. He took on the extra responsibilities of managing the publications' finances and administrative coordination. Baker and his staff at Chemical Abstracts learned indexing and abstracting through hands-on work while seeking to automate and quicken the availability of chemical information. In 1958, Baker became Director of Chemical Abstracts Service, a position he held until 1986. Baker was instrumental in developing an on-line system for Chemical Abstracts in the early 1980s. While Director of Chemical Abstracts Service, Baker also served the ACS in various capacities, from Acting Executive to Director Emeritus. Baker concludes the interview with a discussion of management techniques, and reflections on his career and family.
Robert V. Williams is a professor of library and information science at the University of South Carolina. He holds a PhD in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; an MS in library and information science from Florida State University; and an MA in history from New York University. Before joining the University of South Carolina in 1978, he was an archivist and information services manager for the Ford Foundation, and the Georgia Department of Archives and History. Williams has also been an information consultant for many organizations including Appalachian Council of Governments of Greenville, South Carolina, and Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra, Dominican Republic. He came to the Chemical Heritage Foundation as the Eugene Garfield Fellow in the History of Scientific Information in 1997. He is a member of the South Carolina Historical Records Advisory Board, the American Library Association (ALA), and the American Society for Information Science (ASIS), where he served as chair of ASIS History and Foundations of Information Science Special Interest Group in 1994–1995. Williams is also a member of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and Chair of the SLA Membership Committee. Williams has numerous publications on the historical role of information science.
Leo Slater was the 2001–2002 John C. Haas Fellow and a senior research historian at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, where he also served as Director of Historical Services from 1997 to 2000. A former research chemist at the Schering-Plough Research Institute, he received his doctorate in History from Princeton University in 1997.
Dale B. Baker, interviewed by Leo B. Slater and Robert V. Williams in Columbus, Ohio on June 6, 1997. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0160. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/73666543r.
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