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Jack Ernest Brown

b. Mar. 1, 1914, Edmonton, AB; d. Jan. 17, 1996, Ottawa, ON


1938 BA (University of Alberta)
1939 BLS (McGill University)
1940 MALS (University of Chicago)


1940-1942 Librarian, Edmonton Public Library (chief of circulation and reference)
1943-1945 Library Assistant, New York Public Library
1946-1947 Assistant Librarian, Brown University
1947-1957 Librarian, Science and Technology Division, New York Public Library
1957-1963 Chief Librarian, National Science Library, National Research Council, Ottawa
1963-1974 Director, National Science Library, Ottawa
1974-1977 Director, Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, Ottawa
1978- Associate Professor, McGill University Graduate School of Library Science
Visiting Lecturer at university library schools at Toronto and Ottawa


Brown, Jack E. (1940). The extension of public and school library services in the province of Alberta. MA thesis, University of Chicago, Graduate Library School.

Brown, Jack E. (1942). “Edmonton’s Street Car Library.” Library Journal 67(2): 62–64.

Brown, Jack E. (1960). “National documentation services in Canada.” Special Libraries 51(1): 25–29.

Brown, Jack E. (1962). “Science literature and the public library.” Ontario Library Review 46(2): 69-72.

Brown, Jack E. (1962). “Preliminary survey of science and technology libraries in Canada.” Special Libraries 53(10): 595–596.

Brown, Jack E. and P. Wolters. (1963). “Mechanized listing of serials at the National Research Council Library.” Canadian Library 19(3): 420–426.

Brown, Jack E. (1964). “Applications of data processing at the Canadian National Research Council Library.” In Proceedings of the 1964 Clinic on Library Applications of Data Processing, pp. 105–11. Urbana, Illinois: Graduate School of Library Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Brown, Jack E. (1965). “The National Science Library: information centre for industry.” Industrial Canada 65(1): 1–7.

Brown, Jack E. (1966). “Survey milestones: Canadian libraries.” Library Journal 91(20): 5525–5528.

Brown, Jack E. (1969). “CAN-SDI Project: the SDI program of Canada’s National Science Library.” Special Libraries 60(8): 501-509.

Brown, Jack E. and Wolters, P.H. (1971). “CAN/SDI System: user reaction to a computerized information retrieval system for Canadian scientists and technologists.” Canadian Library Journal 28(1): 20–23.

Brown, Jack E. (1971). “CAN/SDI plus two: Canada's National SDI Service for Science and Technology.” In Proceedings of The Israel Society of Special Libraries and Information Centres International Conference on Information Science, Tel Aviv, 29 August-3 September, 1971, pp. 619-628.

Brown, Jack E. (1972). The Canadian National Scientific and Technical Information (STI) System: a progress report. Philadelphia: National Federation of Science Abstracting and Indexing Services.

Brown Jack E. (1973). “Science policy and information networks: an introduction.” In Canadian Association for Information Science; Proceedings of The First Open Conference on Information Science in Canada, Montebello Quebec, May 14-15, 1973. pp. 134-137.

Brown, Jack E. (1974). “The National Science Library and its program.” In Library Services Cross Borders: Minutes of the Eighty-Fourth Meeting, May 9-10, 1974, pp. 14–19. Washington: Association of Research Libraries.

Brown, Jack E. (1975). “Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information.” Bulletin of The American Society for Information Science
1(8): 29-30.

Brown, Jack E. (1978). “Information users versus information systems.” Canadian Library Journal 35(6): 433-436.


Secretary-Treasurer, Alberta Library Association,1941-1942
Councillor, Canadian Library Association, 1961-1964
Director, Association of College and Research Libraries, 1961-1964
Vice-President, International Federation for Documentation, 1965-1967


1965 LL.D, University of Waterloo
1978 LL.D. McMaster University
1979 Canadian Association of Special Libraries and Information Services Award for Special Librarianship in Canada
1980 CLA Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award
1995 Centennial Medallion, International Federation for Documentation
1996 National Research Library renamed “J.E. Brown Building”


After graduating with a BLS at McGill, Jack Brown received a Carnegie Fellowship to study at Chicago’s graduate library school. He worked for many years at New York Public Library where he built a reputation for promoting science and technology library services. It was due in large part to his vision that the National Research Council Library achieved international recognition. In 1974, a modern building opened as the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information. It was renamed in his honour in 1996. Brown, who began his career as a public librarian, always stressed public service, collegiality, and teamwork. Robert Shanks, his executive assistant at CISTI, said Brown was a “man of great principle who was admired by all”. Upon retiring in 1978, Brown continued teaching at the McGill School of Library Science until 1983.


Canadian Who’s Who, vol. 13, 1973-75.
“Dr. Jack E Brown.” (1996) Feliciter 42(2): 54.
“Dr. Jack Brown.” (1996). Ottawa Citizen, 20 January, p. C3.
Paramount Pictures 1942 video of the Edmonton's Street Car Library on YouTube [accessed 1 Sept. 2017].
ELA biography compiled by Lorne Bruce

biographies/jack-ernest-brown.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/22 20:03