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Vol. 28 No. 2
March-April 2006

IUPAC Wire | News and information on IUPAC, its fellows, and members organizations
See also www.iupac.org/news

In Memorium — Dale B. Baker

Dale B. Baker, director emeritus of Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), died 11 December 2005 in Columbus, Ohio. He had served as director of CAS from 1958 until his retirement in 1986. Under Baker’s leadership over those years, CAS invented database publishing by developing databases from which any form of output, printed or electronic, could be produced.

Baker started with CAS as a part-time office boy in 1939 while attending Ohio State University. After graduating with a degree in chemical engineering, he spent four years working as a supervisory chemist at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., before returning to CAS as an assistant editor in 1946. He rose steadily up the editorial ladder, succeeding E.J. Crane as director in 1958. During Baker’s tenure as a director, CAS faced many challenges, including a difficult transition from a subsidized operation of the ACS to a financially self-sufficient division.

When Baker joined CAS, the organization had for decades been identified as the publisher of the printed Chemical Abstracts (CA), the leading reference work for keeping chemists and other scientists in touch with the latest chemistry-related publications. But keeping up with the explosion in scientific research required the adaptation of new technology. Starting in the 1960s, under Baker’s direction, CAS moved from the conventional, print oriented abstracting and indexing cottage industry to become a highly automated operation of international stature. In the course of that evolution, CAS developed one of the world’s premier automated information processing and retrieval systems, which served as the model for those in other scientific disciplines.

www.cas.org/dalebaker.html


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