This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
Smithsonian Archives Accession Report #95-169
Smithsonian Institution Directories
In 1963, the Director of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) formed a committee to explore the possibilities of data processing in a museum context. In July 1967, the Museum received a three-year grant from the Office of Education, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and with the assistance of the Smithsonian's Information Systems Division (later renamed the Office of Computer Services (OCS)), it began developing the Smithsonian Institution Information Retrieval System (SIIRS), also known as the Natural History Information Retrieval system (NHIR). By December 1969, several thousand records from representative collections in NMNH had been entered,and groundwork had been laid for the establishment of data standards.
In 1970, the Automated Data Processing Program was established at NMNH under the direction of James F. Mello. The goal of the ADP Program was to develop and coordinate permanent data-processing services for the museum, and it began working closely with OCS to create a new system to replace SIRiS. Named SELGEM ("SELf GEnerating Master"), it became the basic data processing system at NMNH and at several other museums, universities, and government agencies. In January 1973, Mello was appointed Assistant Director, NMNH, but remained in charge of the ADP Program until May, when T. Gary Gautier became Acting Chief. Gautier was later named Chief, and in 1980 became Information Systems Manager in charge of the ADP Program. In 1985, his title was changed to Assistant Director for Automatic Data Processing. Gautier retired in 1998 and was succeeded by Bruce A. Daniels.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520