(1921-2014)

MIT, WRU, University of Pittsburgh (School of LIS)

Concerned with free-field searching; Realized need for vocabulary control especially when dealing with automated functions; Began developing a semantic code dictionary in 1951; 1953-55 worked on the telegraph abstract; Helped establish the Mark I Information Retrieval Service (based on the WRU System) 1960; Involved in pilot program to study the feasibility of a mechanized information service for educational research materials – led to development of ERIC; Established the Knowledge Availability Systems Center; 1971-1974 Chairman of Board of Trustees of EDUCOM; Co-editor ofEncyclopedia of Library and Information Science.

(With Perry) associated with the discovery and pioneering of information science; 1955 went to WRU Center for Documentation and Communication Research with Perry; Worked on an elaborate coding system which involved “telegraphic abstracts;” This system included rules to aid in retrieval. A brief obituary and biographical statement appears on the ASIST site at:http://www.asis.org/news/Allen_Kent.html

An extensive oral history interview with Kent was conducted in 1993 by the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section and the tapes have been digitized and are available for listening at:http://images.library.pitt.edu/cgi-bin/i/image/image-idx?view=entry;cc=ncjw;entryid=x-ais196440.233 Content of the interview concentrates on his experiences as a Jew but also includes considerable discussion of his career in information science and work at Case Western Reserve University and the Univ. of Pittsburgh.

Kent’s family has given permission for the selective publication of a majority of “The Memoirs of Allen Kent,” written about 1995 (about 90 pages); see link below. Permission to quote from not required as long as source is cited.

Offices held:

University of Michigan, Rare Books (1.9 feet (ca. 685 items), 1944-1987, search under “Warden, Margaret”; Kent is mentioned in the papers of Margaret (Smith) Warden; she served as commissioner of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (1979-1984); Member of the Advisory Committee, White House Conference on Library and Information Services (1975-1979); Member of ALS and National Secretary and Legislative Chairman of the Montana Library Association)