Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Library and information Science


College of Information and Communications

First Advisor

Samantha K. Hastings


This comparative study employs a historical perspective to narrow the gap in the existing knowledge of the origins of an information explosion phenomenon that dates back to the early decades of the twentieth century. It argues that the root cause of the unprecedented growth of the overall amount of documents was the rapid expansion of scientific and technical advances across the world and the subsequent spread of modern technologies, particularly those applied to scientific and technical information (STI).

This research is based on the premise that the thriving of the Soviet militaryindustrial complex went hand in hand with the rise of the STI management system in the mid-twentieth century United States. However, the specific nature of that two-way relationship has been insufficiently studied, in part due to information isolation and the scarcity of original sources. Reflecting the regime in place, the Soviets and the Western world pursued a unique course in managing STI. Using a number of primary and secondary sources, this research examines the Soviet centralized system of tightly regulated government control over information versus an amalgam of various U.S. agencies, jurisdictions, private and even academic institutions playing a role in STI gathering, storage, and dissemination.

Overall, by exploring the practices of a range of the U.S. and Soviet information agencies, this research throws additional light on how the United States and the Soviet Union handled the Cold War information overload. In doing so, it opens up new educational opportunities and informs our judgment about the challenges and possibilities in scientific and scholarly research brought about by today’s global information age.


© 2016, Stan Trembach