Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Summit (Roger K.) papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (109.60 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Roger K. Summit papers
    creator: Summit, Roger K.
    Identifier/Call Number: M2022
    Physical Description: 57 Linear Feet (114 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1960s-2010s
    Abstract: The papers of Roger Summit consist primarily of his work with industry-leading information retrieval company DIALOG.

    Biographical / Historical

    Roger Kent Summit is an information scientist and businessmen best known for being the creator of the Dialog information retrieval system (sometimes stylized as DIALOG) as well as the president and CEO of Dialog Information Services, Inc.
    Born in 1930 in Detroit, Michigan, Summit earned a B.A. in Psychology in 1952 from Stanford University, where he would also earn an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in Management Science in 1957 and 1965 respectively. Summit worked as a Communications Officer in the Navy from 1952 – 1955 before joining the Lockheed Corporation’s information processing staff in 1960. Summit first developed the Dialog online information retrieval system while working at Lockheed Corporation in 1962. Dialog was described by ProQuest in 2008 as “the world's first online information retrieval system to be used globally with commercially important databases”, and for many years it was the largest online retrieval system in the world, containing over 200 accessible bibliographic and reference databases designed primarily for educational, scientific, medical, and technical researchers, as well as librarians and other information scientists. In 1968, Lockheed entered into a contract with NASA to use Dialog as the Administration’s online information retrieval system. Eventually, Dialog was established as a commercial information retrieval business within Lockheed’s Palo Alto Research Laboratory in 1972 before being spun-off as a wholly-owned subsidiary in 1981. In 1988, Knight-Ridder, Inc. purchased Dialog from Lockheed; it was later sold to MAID in 1997, the Thomson Corporation in 2000, and ProQuest in 2008. Roger Summit retired in 1991. In addition to the Dialog information retrieval system, Summit also developed various Dialog derivatives such as the Remote Console (RECON) system for NASA, the United States Atomic Energy Commission, and the European Space Agency, and the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) project, a national information database of education-related literature. Summit also authored numerous articles on information science, online information retrieval, and library information technology.
    Summit was called “the father of online systems” by Saul Herner in 1996. He was elected to the Information Industry Association’s Hall of Fame in 1982 and was awarded the LITA/Gaylord Award for Achievement in Library and Information Technology in 1984 and the Association for Information Science and Technology’s Award of Merit in 1991.

    Scope and Contents

    The Roger K. Summit papers consist of approximately 57 linear feet of materials ranging from the 1960s to the early 2010s, with the bulk of the materials originating in the 1970s and 1980s. The vast majority of the collection is related to the Dialog information retrieval system and the Dialog Information Services corporation. Additional materials cover Summit’s employment at the Lockheed corporation, the Remote Console (RECON) and Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) projects, an early piece of computer software created by Summit called the Aerospace Business Environment Simulator, and various information science industry publications and articles. The collection also includes writing and presentations made by Summit through the course of his career.
    While this collection contains materials related generally to Dialog Information Services, Inc., all materials contained herein originate with Roger K. Summit, and much of the material is directly addressed to Summit or contains notes or replies from Summit. This also includes Summit’s personal notebooks, planners, and calendars, numerous presentations and speeches delivered by Summit (including slides and transparencies), and academic papers authored by Summit. There is also a significant amount of material related to the several attempts to spin off Dialog as its own corporation and to its eventual sale to Knight-Ridder, Inc., in 1988.
    Whenever possible, series have been arranged chronologically, with undated materials following in the order physically filed. Series without a significant amount of dated materials have simply been arranged by the order physically filed.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.
    Selected media from this collection has been reformatted, some of which is available in the Special Collections reading room or via Searchworks for Stanford-affiliated patrons.
    Material in Box 114 is restricted until 2065.

    Conditions Governing Use

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Roger K. Summit papers (M2022). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gifts of Roger Summit; 2014 and 2016. Accessions MSS 2014-058, 2014-104, and 2016-170.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Information storage and retrieval systems.
    Information retrieval
    Database management
    Machine-readable bibliographic data.
    Summit, Roger K.
    Dialog Corporation
    DIALOG Information Retrieval Service
    DIALOG Information Services