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Joseph Becker


Becker (1923-1995) was considered a networking specialist, whose principal contribution was his work towards a national information network.  Becker designed Library/USA for the 1964 World’s Fair, which included pioneering computer search system demonstrations for the visitor.  From 1966-1969 he served as Vice President and later President of EDUCOM, and co-authored “Information Storage and Retrieval” with Robert Hayes.  According to Tefko Saracevic, they “defined information science as the study of how people create, use, and communicate information.”  Becker and Hayes cofounded Becker & Hayes, Inc., which became a subsidiary of John Wiley & Sons, providing consulting on library and computer networks, software development, and publishing.  After Hayes left for a prestigious position at UCLA, Becker continued to perform consulting work with major firms and libraries.

Becker developed advancements in information retrieval at the CIA and other security agencies, and was very influential in the early federal efforts to develop and implement advanced data processing to large and complex information systems, including traditional libraries.  He agreed to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of The Information Society Journal, which deals with the broad social issues created by the information age.  Becker took the lead in establishing an advisory board and editorial board for the journal, consisting of well-known computer, information, and social scientists.  He arranged to have the journal published by the publishing house of Crane and Rusack, its first issue appearing in 1981.

Awards received:

ASIS&T: Award of Merit (1984)

American Library Association: Achievement Award (1992)

Joseph Becker Papers:

The Becker family intends to deposit his personal and professional papers with the UCLA Special Collections Division; the Becker & Hayes, Inc. papers will be included in the collection.