I opened the paper this morning to read a story of another person involved in the creation of MARC who has just died. I hadn’t realized before reading Henrietta Avram and Samuel Snyder’s obituaries that there was a bit of an NSA LC connection when MARC was being created.
From 1964 to 1966, [Samuel Snyder] was coordinator of the Library of Congress’s information systems office. He was among the creators of the library’s Machine Readable Cataloging system that replaced the handwritten card with an electronic searchable database system that became the standard worldwide.
I imagine NSA folks had a lot to do with early automation efforts in the federal government…but it’s still an interesting connection. One of my coworkers is reading up on this early history of MARC so this is for him in the unlikely event that he missed it…email would probably have worked better I guess, but I also wanted to pay tribute. Libraries wouldn’t be what they are today without this influential early work.