The San Diego Technology Archive was launched by the UC San Diego Library in 2011, on the heels of a discussion between UC San Diego University Librarian Brian Schottlaender and Standish Fleming, co-founder of San Diego’s Forward Ventures and a member of Schottlaender’s Advisory Board. Fleming noted the fact that while San Diego has emerged over the last thirty years as one of the nation’s top technology hubs, its unique trajectory of development had not been analyzed, let alone documented. Furthermore, the unique stories of those entrepreneurs, employees, advocates, and researchers had not been preserved.
Thanks to that discussion, the Library—with support from like-minded community partners such as BioCom, CommNexus, Connect, and the San Diego Venture Group—created the San Diego Technology Archive (SDTA), an online archive documenting the history, development, and growth of the companies and entrepreneurial entities that make up San Diego’s technology clusters. The Archive begins in 1965, and focuses on San Diego’s life sciences, telecommunications, and software and information technology clusters. According to Schottlaender, the Archive will also expand to include less established and emerging tech sectors.
“While the majority of the interviews completed so far include entrepreneurs and other leaders and employees from the life sciences sector,” said Schottlaender, “we have a growing number of oral histories in the telecommunications sector as well, and in the future we plan to include other less established sectors like clean tech.”
While still in its infancy, almost 100 hours of interviews with more than 60 individuals have been completed to date with 60 more interviews targeted for completion in 2014. In addition to oral interviews, the Archive features “genealogy charts” of the companies that constitute the various technology sectors, and the cross-linkages among companies (and staff) within those sectors. A number of new features have recently been added to the SDTA website, including a life sciences timeline and interviews from other SDTA collaborators, including the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library, the Life Sciences Foundation, and the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
The next batch of interviews will be conducted by oral historians David Caruso and Mark Jones. Jones, who holds a Ph.D. in Science Studies from UC San Diego, is the research director at the Life Sciences Foundation and the author of a soon-to-be-published book on the emergence of San Diego’s biotechnology industry, Biotech’s Perfect Climate: The Hybritech Story. Caruso is the Director of the Center for Oral History at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He has a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Cornell University.
SDTA will benefit students, academic researchers, historians, company employees, investment entities, and other individuals with an interest in San Diego’s unique business environment for technology and innovation. The Archive includes the recollections, perspectives, and observations of the region’s visionaries and entrepreneurial advocates who were directly involved in the creation and development of San Diego’s technology community—including company founders and employees, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, service providers, and academics.
For more information about SDTA: libraries.ucsd.edu/sdta