IT Division History

Click Here to view the IT Timeline created by member, Adam Hudson.

The singular interest of the members of the Information Technology Division (IT) is a desire to share information concerning the applications of technology in the information field. This Division crosses all subject areas and is among the largest divisions in the Special Libraries Association.

The Division scope note reads: "The Information Technology Division will encompass the planning, development and practical application of existing and new technologies and systems for the processing and control of information, in any form, for its eventual retrieval and use, convenient to the requester."

The IT Division started as the Documentation Committee, formed in 1951. This committee of SLA consisted of members interested in studying ways to catalog, index, and retrieve the growing document population. There was a need to catalog, organize, and file the many documents captured following World War II. This, plus the increased number of special libraries in companies that produced reports for government contracts, led to increasing interest in this type of information in the library community. Interest grew significantly, and in 1956 the Documentation Division was formed.

The Documentation Division was established to reflect the SLA members' interest in government documents, the huge influx of report literature in the 1950's and 1960's, and the use of computers to organize and retrieve this information. The Division has had as officers many pioneers in the field of information technology.  

  • The Networking Section was added in 1993
  • In 1998, the Section names and scopes were revised to: Digital Content, Government Information, Information Systems, Technical Services, and Virtual, and two additional sections were formed: Webmaster and Programming, Systems Analysis and Design.
  • Programming, Systems Analysis and Design Section was merged into Information Systems.
  • The Communications Division merged into the Information Technology Division in 2001 as the Communications Section.
  • The Virtual Section was eliminated In 2002 and the Government Section was eliminated in 2004.
  • The Blogging Section was added in 2006.
  • The Data Caucus was added in 2014.
  • The Digital Asset Management Section was added in 2015.
  • The section list as of 2016 was: Data Caucus, Digital Asset Management, Information Systems, and Technical Services.
The Division, through its publications, Division and Section programs at the Annual Meeting, sponsored CE courses, and discussion list, web site, and other virtual programs, is able to reach across subject areas and address broader interests in the use of technology to manage information.

(History updated August 2016)