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Oral history interview with Maurice B. Line

  • 2000-Jun-27

Oral history interview with Maurice B. Line

  • 2000-Jun-27

Maurice B. Line's interview begins with a discussion of his education and early career. After high school, Line received a scholarship to attend Oxford University and major in Classics. He began his long career in library institutions at the Bodleian Library as a library trainee. He then moved on to the University of Glasgow as an assistant librarian. While there, he was one of the first to conduct library system studies regarding student's attitudes towards the library. Line brought his interest in library systems to Southampton University where Beres Bland, the head librarian at Southampton, gave Line the freedom to develop his abilities and focus his ideas about information science. As deputy librarian at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Line helped create the first automated acquisition system in Britain. When he became a librarian at Bath University, he directed the study of social scientists' information requirements, named INFROSS, and a further study on the designs of information systems, named DISISS. In 1985, Line became the director general of Science Technology and Industry at the British Library. Line discusses the constraints of working in the public sector, and his desire to create easy access to library collections internationally. In conclusion, he describes the potential obstacles to the international library system in the future, and the importance of technology in making libraries more accessible to users.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 38 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

W. Boyd Rayward is a research professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chamapaign. He turned to librarianship after graduating in English literature from the University of Sydney. He received his PhD from the Graduate Library School at the University of Chicago in 1973. He has held positions in the University of Chicago (where he became Dean of the Graduate Library School). He served as professor and head of the School of Information Library and Archive Studies and Dean of the University's Faculty of Professional Studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney where he is now professor emeritus. He has published two books related to Paul Otlet, Belgian documentalist and internationalist, and a great many articles on history of national and international schemes for the organization and dissemination of information.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0205

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • June 23, 1928
  • Bedford, United Kingdom
  • September 21, 2010


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1950 University of Oxford BA
1954 University of Oxford MA

Professional Experience

University of Oxford

  • 1950 to 1951 Trainee, Bodleian Library

University of Glasgow

  • 1951 to 1953 Library Assistant

University of Southampton

  • 1954 to 1965 Sub-Librarian

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

  • 1965 to 1968 Deputy Librarian

University of Bath

  • 1968 to 1971 Librarian

Guo li zhong yang tu shu guan (China)

  • 1971 to 1973 Librarian

British Library

  • 1974 to 1985 Director General, Lending Division
  • 1985 to 1988 Director General, Science Technology and Industry

University of Sheffield

  • 1977 to 2001 Professor Associate

Loughborough University

  • 1985 to 1991 External Professor


Year(s) Award
1980 DLitt., Heriot-Watt University
1985 Honorary Fellow, Library Association
1988 DSc, Southampton University
1988 Fellow of Birmingham Polytechnic
1988 Companion, Chartered Management Institute
1989 IFLA medal
1990 President, Library Association

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PDF — 316 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

3 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads