Throughout 2020, CLIR will do a weekly #TBT post on social media, highlighting key activity from each year since its founding in 1956. We’re posting the source material here, for people who want to read more!


IBM 7094March 26, 2020: In 1967, CLR awards $250,000 to MIT to help support work on Project Intrex, which sought to develop and test a remote-access computer-based catalog, as well as the ability to research and retrieve information in graphic form electronically. (Photo of IBM 7094 operator’s console courtesy Arnold Reinhold via Wikimedia Commons.) Read more.


Union cat


March 19, 2020: In 1966, with support from a $244,651 grant—CLR’s largest to date—the massive third edition of the Union List of Serials in Libraries and the United States and Canada was published. The last edition had been published in 1943. The guide was critical to providing information necessary for the cooperative use of serials through interlibrary loan. Read more.


AAS Taipei CenterMarch 12, 2020: The boom in Far Eastern Studies after WWII led to greater demand for collections in this field, but many works were expensive, scarce, or out of print. To alleviate the situation, in 1965, CLR grants $10,000 to the Association for Asian Studies to help establish the Chinese Materials and Research Aids Service Center in Taipei, Taiwan. The center encouraged republication in Taiwan of out-of-print works, provided information to libraries on what was available on the Taiwanese market, prepared bibliographical and research aids, and served as an agent in securing books and periodicals. Read more.

coverMarch 5, 2020: 1964 saw publication of the landmark “King Report.” Known formally as Automation and the Library of Congress, a survey sponsored by the Council on Library Resources, Inc., the report endorsed the benefits and feasibility of automation in the Library of Congress—and perhaps of a national system of interlinked research libraries. The seven-member survey team, chaired by Gilbert W. King, comprised experts in the application of computers, mathematics, operations research, and human engineering to data processing systems. The study was supported by a $100,000 CLR grant made in FY 1961. Read more.

sheet music

Feb. 27, 2020: Until the 1960s, music had been largely neglected in national and international bibliographies. In 1963, CLR grants $27,300 to the Music Library Association to record the holdings of American libraries for inclusion in the International Inventory of Musical Sources, a bibliography and finding list of manuscripts and printed works that then extended to 1800. The inventory was compiled under a joint commission sponsored by the International Musicological Society and the International Federation of Music Libraries. About 150 American institutions cooperated in preparing the bibliography. Read more.


Seattle exhibitionFeb. 20, 2020: In its largest award in fiscal year 1962, CLR grants $162,258 to Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc. for Research on Concepts and Problems of Libraries of the Future. With the proliferation of information in the 20th century, traditional methods of information management had become inadequate. More work was needed in technical storage and retrieval to make collections useful. The quest for a “push-button library” was under way. The CLR-funded research, under the direction of J. C. R. Licklider, looked at the functions that needed to be fulfilled by library systems; possible technologies to support their operations; an analysis of aims, methods, and problems in information storage and retrieval; and specific problems of man-machine communication and artificial intelligence. Read more.

LC PRTFeb. 13, 2020: We’re leapfrogging a few years to acknowledge a significant anniversary. Fifty years ago this month, CLR awarded $95,000 to the Library of Congress (LC) for equipment to furnish its new Preservation Research Office. The office—really a laboratory—was created to do both basic and practical research, primarily focused on issues relating to paper preservation. The laboratory continues its work today as LC’s Preservation Research and Testing Division (pictured left), under the leadership of CLIR Presidential Fellow and incoming Board member Fenella France. Read more.

Intectron Inc.Feb. 6, 2020: In 1961, CLR funds eight grants relating to microcopying, including a $177,209 award to the Bell & Howell Company to develop a step-and-repeat camera for producing microimages by xerography. Although microfilming had been in use for some time, numerous problems with the medium had surfaced, ranging from the physical and bibliographic standards governing their manufacture and processing to problems with the reading equipment necessary for their use. Photo at left shows optical bench used as part of a study of factors involved in photocopying at high ratios of reduction. Read more.

globe and card catalogJan. 30, 2020: In 1960, CLR grants funds to the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) to convene the International Conference on the Principles of Cataloging in Paris in October 1961. The 105 participants, drawn from 53 countries and 13 international organizations, approve the Paris Principles, which become the basis for subsequent work on the revision of cataloging codes in many countries. Read more.

IBM 1620Jan. 23, 2020: In 1959, CLR funds a study to explore whether subject analysis, which relied on human labor, could be mechanized. PI Don R. Swanson, an information scientist most known for his work in literature-based discovery in the biomedical domain, publishes his findings in the 1960 Science article, “Searching Natural Language Text by Computer,” and lays the groundwork for subsequent research. Read more.

Image of Cataloging Persian Works book coverJan. 16, 2020: CLR awards 31 grants in 1958, including one to Nasser Sharify, Deputy Parliamentary Librarian of Iran on leave, to develop a standardized code—which had not previously existed—for cataloging Persian publications. The American Library Association publishes the code in 1959. Read more.

William BarrowJan. 9, 2020: In 1957, CLR awards one of its first four grants to William Barrow for research on causes of and remedies for book stock deterioration. His transfer of knowledge from chemistry to restoration becomes a key contribution to the field of conservation. Read more.

CLIR logoThe Council on Library Resources, Inc. (CLR) came into being on September 18, 1956, the date of its first meeting. Read this brief history of CLR, by Deanna Marcum.