An Ithaca, N.Y., native, Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in history from CornellUniversity and worked for a short stint as a
sports reporter before being drafted into the U.S.Army in 1942. He became a member of the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps until
returning to the United States in 1947. He enrolled in Columbia University’s library science program on the GI Bill, earning an M.S. in Library Science in 1950. He was named a Fulbright Lecturer in 1956. He went on to work as a librarian, professor and director of information science at Lehigh University (1956-1967) and then a professor and director of the Library Center at Hampshire College (1967-1972).
He served as dean of the Syracuse University School of Information Studies from 1972 to 1981. One of his most memorable accomplishments at the school was changing its name from library science to the more comprehensive information studies. “The change in name is not a cosmetic cover, but a recognition that the activities and courses we presently have can no longer be called library science,” he said at the time. “Simply put, ‘information studies’better represents what we are doing and the direction we are going.” Taylorfounded the nation’s first master’s degree in information resource management (which is now called information management) in 1980.
He served as President of ASIS&T in 1968 and was the recipient of the 1992Award of Merit and the 1972 ASIS&T Best Information Science Book Award for The Making of a Library.Two of his seminal works, “Question-Negotiation and Information-Seeking in Libraries” (1967) and Value Added Processes in Information Systems (1986), continue to be quoted.
[Excerpted with permission from his obituary in The Bulletin of The American Society for Information Science and Technology, April-May, 2009]
Wikipedia has a useful sketch of his life and work, including links to a memorial page at Syracuse University: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_S._Taylor
ASIS&T: Executive Council (1959-1961); President (1968)
ASIS&T: Best Information Science Book (1972)
Fulbright Lecturer (1956)
Robert Taylor Papers:
Syracuse University Special Collections Division, Syracuse, NY (Papers have been deposited at the University, for more information, see their website)