Allen Kent

Allen Kent (October 24, 1921 – May 1, 2014) was an information scientist.

Allen Kent
Born(1921-10-24)October 24, 1921
New York City
DiedMay 1, 2014(2014-05-01) (aged 92)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Occupationinformation scientist
Years active1952–1992

Early lifeEdit

He was born in New York City.[1] At City College of New York he earned a degree in chemistry.[2] During World War II, he served in the Army Air Corps.[2] After the war, he worked on a classified project at MIT in mechanized document encoding and search.[1]


In 1955, he helped found the Center for Documentation Communication Research at Western Reserve University.[3] This was "the first academic program in the field of mechanized information retrieval, first using cards, then utilizing new reel-to-reel tape technology."[1] In the same year he introduce the measures of precision and recall in Perry, Kent & Berry (1955). In 1959, he wrote an article for Harper's magazine entitled, "A Machine That Does Research" which provided one of the first incites in mainstream media about how Americans lives can change due to electronic information technology.[4] He joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in 1963, where in 1970 he began the Department of Information Science.[5] He retired from the university in 1992.[5] At the time of his death, he was Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh[5] The school named a scholarship after him.[6]

Selective bibliographyEdit

  • Perry, James W.; Kent, Allen; Berry, Madeline M. (1955). "Machine literature searching X. Machine language; factors underlying its design and development". American Documentation. 6 (4): 242–254. doi:10.1002/asi.5090060411.
  • "A Machine That Does Research," (April 1959), Harper's Magazine
  • Information Analysis and Retrieval, 1962
  • The Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science
  • The Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology
  • The Encyclopedia of Microcomputers


  • 1968 Eastman Kodak Award for significant contributions to the Science of Information Technology[citation needed]
  • 1977 Award of Merit from ASIS[7]
  • 1980 Best Information Science Book from ASIS[8]


Archival MaterialsEdit